The Florida Department of Transportation, acting as an agent to the Federal Highway Administration has documented existing conditions of U.S. 41 (SR 45) in Hillsborough and Pasco Counties, Florida. This document will establish a need for improving the state road based on the existing and projected conditions. Engineering aspects of the study corridor are discussed thoroughly including alternatives considered, those preferred and those eliminated. Environmental documentation will be prepared to determine human and environmental impacts of the proposed improvements, such as; wetlands impacts, possible mitigation, community cohesion, land-uses, relocation impacts and hazardous waste locations. Together, the Engineering Report and the required environmental documentation make up the final “Environmental Determination”.
Study Purpose and Need
The Florida Department of Transportation, Hillsborough County and Pasco County have proposed that U.S. 41 be widened to a four and six-lane divided facility. The basic need for this improvement has been identified and documented through awareness of the projected growth and the inability of the existing facility to continue serving the growing transportation demand. The U.S. 41 corridor is a major connector between Tampa and the communities of Lutz, Land O’ Lakes and the Brooksville area of Hernando County. The present alignment traverses established and proposed industrial, residential and business districts and would continue to experience a substantial increase in traffic demand regardless of improvements in any parallel corridor.
The project involves an 18.5 mile segment of U.S. 41 in Hillsborough and Pasco Counties extending from the vicinity of Fletcher Ave. in Tampa, Hillsborough County to SR 52 in central Pasco County. The highway is to be improved from the existing two-lane rural facility to a divided multi-lane facility. The existing roadway is predominantly 24 to 28 feet wide with 6 to 10-foot grassed shoulders. Areas of high traffic volumes and high accident rates have been widened to provide a safer facility. The existing right-of-way throughout the project limits varies from 66 to 200 feet.
Upgrading the existing facility to a four and six-lane divided highway will provide 12-foot inside lanes and 14- foot outside lanes to accommodate bicycles in the areas utilizing curb and gutter. Twelve-foot travel lanes with 4-foot paved shoulders will be provided adjacent to areas with open drainage ditches. The concept includes a four-lane divided urban and “hybrid” typical section from Fletcher Avenue to Florida Avenue. A “hybrid” facility has curb and gutter on one side and open ditch on the other. In this case, the open ditch is on the side adjacent to the existing railroad. In the area of I-275 (SR 93), a 22-foot raised median for protection of the pillars to the I-275 overpass will be utilized.