The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) conducted a Project Development & Environment (PD&E) study to evaluate alternative improvements along State Road (SR) 54, from CR 577 (Curley Road) to CR 579/CR 54 (Morris Bridge Road), in southeast Pasco County.
The study area was located in Wesley Chapel, an unincorporated census designated place. The project is located within Sections 9, 10, 13, 14, & 15, Township 26 S, and Range 20 E and Section 18, Township 26 S, Range 21 E. The total length of the proposed project limits is approximately 4.5 miles. The segment to the west, from I-75 to east of Curley Road (CR 577), is currently programmed by Pasco County for widening to six lanes. That project also includes a connection to the planned Zephyrhills West Bypass Extension.
A public hearing was held on Thursday, August 14, 2008 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Trinity United Methodist Church, 33425 State Road 54 in Wesley Chapel, Florida. This PD&E Study was approved when the Federal Highway Administration granted Location and Design Concept Acceptance on July 16, 2009.
Study Purpose and Need
The purpose of the proposed project was to provide a higher capacity and safer facility to better meet future transportation demand in this rapidly developing area of Pasco County. SR 54 is one of the primary east-west facilities within Pasco County, effectively connecting the eastern and western sides of the county. This corridor is also designated as an emergency evacuation route. The PD&E Study also included the consideration of a No-Build Alternative.
As part of the Department’s Efficient Transportation Decision Making (ETDM) process, a Planning Screen Summary Report was published on September 23, 2005 under ETDM #3104, and a Programming Screen Summary Report was published on August 17, 2006 under ETDM #6651 (Reference 1-1). The Federal Highway Administration has determined that the project qualifies as a Type 2 Categorical Exclusion.
The existing SR 54 facility is functionally classified by FDOT as:
- “Urban Principal Arterial Other” from west of the project limits to Smith Rd
- “Rural Principal Arterial Other” from Smith Rd to west of New River
- “Urban Principal Arterial Other” from west of New River to east of the project limits
The existing roadway is a two-lane rural facility with 12-ft travel lanes and 5-ft paved shoulders. Several areas have been widened to provide left-turn and right-turn lanes. From west to east, the posted speed limit varies from 55 miles per hour (mph) to 45 mph.
Traffic signals currently exist (or will be in operation) at Curley Road, Meadow Pointe Boulevard, River Glen Boulevard/Wyndfields Boulevard, and Morris Bridge Road. The existing right-of-way typically varies between 80 ft and 100 ft. In addition, the County has obtained (or will obtain) “reserved” right-of-way which is being donated by developers as a stipulation of development orders and rezoning conditions. The existing highway is classified by FDOT as Access Management Class 3. Class 3 standards require a minimum traffic signal spacing of 0.5 miles, which the existing facility meets, and minimum spacing for median openings as follows:
- 0.5 mile for full median openings
- 0.25 mile for directional median openings
The existing facility is mostly two-lane undivided and two-lane divided without raised medians, so the median opening spacing standards don’t apply yet.
The Preferred Alternative includes the widening or reconstruction of the existing highway to a four-lane divided arterial including additional auxiliary lanes between east of Curley Road and Foxwood Boulevard. Two different types of typical sections are proposed: an urban typical section and a suburban typical section. The proposed typical sections include 12-ft travel lanes, sidewalks and “trails”, and either 5-ft paved shoulders or 4-ft bicycle lanes, with a closed drainage system, extension or replacement of cross drains, and associated storm water management facilities for water quality treatment and discharge attenuation.
The proposed project is included in the Pasco County Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (MPO) Year 2025 Cost Affordable Long-Range Transportation Plan for the period from 2016 to 2025, as a four-lane divided facility.