The two Pasco County commisioners who represent the largest portions of Wesley Chapel — Ron Oakley in District 1 and Mike Moore in District 2 — have had their fair share of complaints from residents about area roads, and the traffic on them.
So, as Moore, Oakley and their fellow commissioners took up the debate about a proposal clearing the way for a new business park on Old Pasco Rd., they both were in favor of taking a closer look at whether or not the two-lane road should be widened first.
That is not going to happen, however, as the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) voted to approve a re-zoning request that clears the way to allow 2,250,000 sq. ft. of office and light industrial entitlements on roughly 91 acres of land on the east side of Old Pasco Rd. about 290 feet south of Overpass Rd., near the new Cypress Creek Middle High School.
The BOC is hoping it attracts future businesses and brings more jobs to the county.
Moore was in favor of the re-zoning request, but considering there is a widening project already in the works for Overpass Rd., near where the new business park will be located, he said he was only suggesting, no pun intended, that the BCC look further down the road.
“I just asked why not do the whole (widening) thing at once instead of piecemeal,” said Moore. “It would be nice if it was widened all the way down to S.R. 54. You always want to be prepared for the future. Putting the infrastructure in place first is important to me.”
Oakley agreed. The Overpass Business Park, which was formerly known as the Vibrant SUN Business Park, is in his district and was approved by the Board of County Commissioners vote on May 22.
Moore’s concerns about Old Pasco Rd.’s ability to handle the additional traffic, especially from trucks, that a business park might add was assuaged by the assumption that many of the trucks and additional traffic will use the future Overpass Rd. interchange to get on and off I-75.
However, he still has concerns about the road, which will see increased traffic from the addition of middle school students to the Cypress Creek Middle/High School campus, a potential Performing Arts Center on that campus, 400 new homes in Quail Hollow, and the 264-unit Arbours at Saddle Oaks residential development at the intersection of Old Pasco Rd. and Country Club Rd.
Moore said plans to widen Old Pasco Rd. were at one time in the county’s Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) but were removed during the 2008 economic downturn. He said he was going to try to get the project put back into the LRTP.
He said the county is looking into applying for state infrastructure grants to pay for any potential widening project.
Pasco commissioners recently approved $89,788 for HDR Engineering, Inc. to conduct a road safety audit (RSA) and study for Old Pasco Rd. from S.R. 54 to north of Overpass Rd., a 3.32-mile stretch.
While the RSA is unrelated to the BCC’s approval of the business park, Moore said it could determine that such a need to widen Old Pasco Rd. exists.
However, the study, expected to take four months, is focued more on road safety issues and safety improvements than widening.
That study will take a look at the Old Pasco Rd. intersections with S.R. 54, Post Oak Blvd., Foamflower Blvd., Dayflower Blvd., Country Club Rd., Bonnie Blue Dr., Deedra Dr., Sonny Dr., Lindenhurst Dr., and Overpass Rd.