Pasco County, in coordination with the Florida Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration, is conducting a Project, Development and Environment (PD&E) Study for improving Overpass Road from Old Pasco Road to US 301 for a distance of approximately 9.0 miles, and an Interchange Justification Report (IJR) for a proposed new interchange at I-75. Click here to view project location map.
The purpose of this project is to provide documented environmental and engineering analyses to assist Pasco County in reaching a decision on the type, location and conceptual design of the improvements necessary to improve mobility and accessibility from Old Pasco Road on the west to US 301 on the east. The need for this study has been identified by the Pasco County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) in their 2035 Cost Affordable Roadway Improvements during the 2015 to 2025 timeframe.
Pasco County conducted the Overpass Road Route Study in 2005 to evaluate capacity and safety improvement alternatives from Old Pasco Road to Fort King Road in Zephyrhills. Pasco County also conducted an interchange feasibility study in 2007 for the I-75/Overpass Road interchange; and an IJR is currently underway for I-75 at Overpass Road.
Overpass Road is currently a two-lane facility that extends from Old Pasco Road to 0.86 miles east of Boyette Road. Pasco County proposes to widen this portion from two lanes to a minimum of four lanes. From Boyette Road to US 301, the roadway will be on new alignment and is proposed to be constructed as a minimum four-lane facility.
This proposed roadway capacity improvement project in Pasco County involves the addition of an interchange at the current flyover of Overpass Road and I-75; the extension of Overpass Road on new alignment from its current terminus located approximately 0.86 miles east of Boyette Road to US 301; and the widening of the existing segment of Overpass Road (from Old Pasco Road to east of Boyette Road). It is anticipated that Overpass Road and the proposed extension will be constructed at a minimum as a four-lane divided facility, with the potential to expand the roadway to a six-lane divided facility, if needed. The total project length is approximately 9.0 miles; the study corridor is shown on the project location map.
As part of the Final Overpass Road Route Study (March 2005), two Build alternatives (O-1, O-2) and a No-Build alternative were initially evaluated. Alternatives O-1 and O-2 were developed to address long-range planning and safety needs and to minimize social, environmental, and economic impacts. In addition to these criteria, the development of the Build alternatives also incorporated comments received from the public. Build Alternatives O-1 and O-2 were subsequently presented at the first public workshop on October 28, 2004. Based on the public comments received, a new Build alternative (O-3) was developed to alleviate impacts (to the maximum extent feasible) to residents located south of Fairview Heights Road and east of Handcart Road. Alternative O-3 was presented at the second public workshop on March 3, 2005 along with Alternative O-2 (which was preferred to Alternative O-1 at the first workshop).
As a result of the Route Study, Alternative O-3 was favored because it:
The Project Development and Environment (PD&E) Study will evaluate and refine the proposed alternatives and identify the future lane needs. Note that an Interchange Justification Report (IJR) for the proposed interchange at I-75 and Overpass Road is being prepared concurrent with the PD&E Study.
Transportation Plan Consistency
Improvements to Overpass Road, including the proposed new interchange at I-75 and Overpass Road, are identified in the Pasco County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) as 'Cost Affordable Roadway Improvements' during the 2015 to 2025 timeframe. Note that the 'Needs Plan' of the LRTP shows that Overpass Road from Old Pasco Road to US 301 is anticipated to ultimately warrant six lanes by the year 2035.
Overpass Road from Old Pasco Road to US 301 is shown as a four-lane facility in the Transportation Element of the adopted Pasco County Comprehensive Plan. A Comprehensive Plan Amendment was approved on August 10, 2010 for the Pasadena Hills Area Plan (Ordinance 10-21) which shows Overpass Road from Old Pasco Road to US 301 as a six-lane facility. While the Transportation Element of the Comprehensive Plan does not specifically identify the I-75 interchange improvements as cost-affordable, I-75 at Overpass Road is listed as an intersection with entering traffic volumes greater than 100,000 vehicles per day.
Purpose and Need Statement
The widening of the existing Overpass Road segment from Old Pasco Road to approximately 0.86 miles east of Boyette Road from two lanes to a four-lane divided facility, construction of the Overpass Road extension from approximately 0.86 miles east of Boyette Road to US 301 as a new four-lane divided facility, and the addition of a new interchange at I-75 and Overpass Road are identified in the Pasco County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) as 'Cost Affordable Capital Improvements' during the 2015 to 2025 timeframe. Note that the 'Needs Plan' of the LRTP shows that Overpass Road from Old Pasco Road to US 301 is anticipated to ultimately warrant six lanes by the year 2035.
The I-75/Overpass Road interchange is anticipated to play a significant role in the regional network in terms of enhancing connectivity, safety, and traffic circulation as the I-75 corridor serves as part of Florida's designated Strategic Intermodal System (SIS) network. The proposed interchange is projected to divert traffic demand from future over-capacity conditions at the two adjacent interchanges at I-75/SR 52 and I-75/CR 54, which are currently experiencing congestion from the northbound off-ramps queuing onto the I-75 mainline. In addition, the proposed I-75/Overpass Road interchange and the extension and widening of Overpass Road are anticipated to decrease delay and improve safety conditions on I-75, as well as further improve emergency evacuation and response times within the County as Overpass Road runs parallel to two primary state evacuation routes (SR 52 and CR 54/SR 54).
Overall, the construction of a new interchange at I-75, as well as the extension and widening of Overpass Road, will be critical in accommodating anticipated travel demands and enhancing safety. These improvements will work to ensure that mobility is 1) maintained on Florida's Interstate and Intrastate Highway Systems, as well as 2) enhanced between existing and proposed developments along the roadway network in eastern Pasco County.
I-75 is a primary facility of the state evacuation route network established by the Florida Division of Emergency Management. While Overpass Road does not currently serve as part of the state or County evacuation route network, its role in facilitating traffic during emergency evacuation periods could be significant as the proposed interchange would provide access to I-75. In addition, the interchange, as well as the extension and widening of Overpass Road, would further enhance emergency evacuation capacity; the interchange and improved facility would help relieve congestion on two parallel primary state evacuation routes intersecting I-75 (SR 52 and CR 54/SR 54). Overall, the proposed Overpass Road infrastructure improvements (including the I-75 interchange) would lead to efficient traffic flow which, in turn, would improve evacuation and response times.
Future Population and Employment Growth
The large amount of population growth experienced in Pasco County (particularly in the Wesley Chapel area) has resulted in increased traffic volumes and congestion at the interchanges of I-75 with SR 56, CR 54, and SR 52. Numerous developments have been approved within the east central area of Pasco County and are in various stages of planning and construction. For example, in 2008 Pasco County approved a Comprehensive Plan Amendment for Pasadena Hills (Pasadena Hills Area Plan) consisting of 20,000 acres in east central Pasco County. Specific new land uses approved in the amendment include 41,987 residential units, 2.26 million non-residential square feet, and 500,000 square feet of office development.
The impact of these developments is reflected in the projected increases in population, employment, and the number of dwelling units in the general area. A comparison of socioeconomic data between the 2006 and 2035 Tampa Bay Regional Planning Model (TBRPM) for Development of Regional Impact (DRI) and Master Planned Unit Development (MPUD) projects in the surrounding area of the project indicates that the population in these traffic analysis zones (TAZs) is projected to grow from 53,000 in the year 2006 to 218,000 in the year 2035, with an estimated growth of 400 percent between 2006 and 2035.
The dramatic increases in population and employment projected to occur over the next 25 years in east central Pasco County will likely result in significant increases in traffic volumes throughout the area. The existing interchanges located at I-75/SR 56, I-75/CR 54, and I-75/SR 52 are already experiencing congestion and are not expected to be able to effectively serve the future vehicular demand entering or exiting I-75 in the study area. The Overpass Road improvements along with the proposed new interchange at I-75 and Overpass Road would better serve the future traffic demand resulting from the forecasted population and employment growth.
Table 1 presents 2010 and projected 2040 Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT) volumes, as well as 2010 and projected 2040 Levels of Service (LOS) for facilities surrounding Overpass Road (I-75, SR 52, and CR 54/SR 54). The existing and projected AADT volumes and LOS are derived from the I-75 and Overpass Road Draft Preliminary Interchange Justification Report (PIJR), which is currently underway. The traffic projections presented within the Draft PIJR have been developed using the TBRPM. It should be noted that the model was adjusted to account for approved and proposed developments within the study area. Based on the increase in population and employment figures, traffic projections for 2040 were extrapolated.
As noted in the previous section, the eastern portion of Pasco County is experiencing dramatic population and employment growth due to an increase in development. The significant increase in growth has resulted in high traffic volumes and deficient LOS at the SR 52 and CR/SR 54 interchanges with I-75, as shown in Table 1. Accordingly, the LOS on facilities surrounding Overpass Road are anticipated to degrade to a LOS F if no interchange is added or capacity improvements (including the extension) occur.
Overall, the construction of a new interchange at I-75/Overpass Road, as well as the extension and widening of Overpass Road, will be critical in accommodating the anticipated travel demands and enhancing safety. The interchange proposed at I-75/Overpass Road is projected to divert traffic demand from the future over-capacity conditions at the adjacent I-75/SR 52 and I 75/CR 54 interchanges, which each are currently experiencing increased queuing conditions from the northbound off-ramps onto the I-75 mainline. In addition, the proposed I-75/Overpass Road interchange, as well as the extension and widening of Overpass Road, are anticipated to decrease delay and improve safety conditions on I-75. Thus, the improvements will work to ensure that mobility is 1) maintained on Florida's Interstate and Intrastate Highway Systems, as well as 2) enhanced between existing and proposed developments along the roadway network in eastern Pasco County.
The I-75/Overpass Road interchange is anticipated to play a significant role in terms of enhancing regional connectivity, safety, and traffic circulation as the I-75 corridor serves as part of Florida's designated SIS network. The I-75 corridor also connects major residential and employment centers throughout the state. Due to the fact that Overpass Road runs parallel to two primary state evacuation routes (SR 52 and SR 54), the extension and widening could further enhance traffic flow, as well as emergency evacuation and response times within the county. The proposed Overpass Road improvements will be critical in improving overall safety, emergency access, and traffic circulation within eastern Pasco County, as the corridor is ideally positioned between two major east-west state arterials (SR 52 and SR 54) and one major north-south interstate.
Relief to Parallel Facilities
Based on the I-75/Overpass Road Draft PIJR, the proposed interchange and the extension and widening of the Overpass Road corridor are anticipated to: 1) reduce traffic congestion on the east-west arterials of SR 52 and CR54/SR 54 (parallel facilities) by providing an additional connection with I-75, as well as 2) divert traffic demand from the projected over capacity conditions at the adjacent SR 52 and SR 54 interchanges with I-75.
Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities
Currently, there are no pedestrian facilities present along the existing two-lane undivided segment of Overpass Road from Old Pasco Road to Boyette Road. A 10-foot-wide multi-use pathway exists along the south side of Overpass Road from Boyette Road to the eastern terminus (0.86 miles from Boyette Road). There is also a 5-foot paved shoulder on the north side along Overpass Road, east of Boyette Road. Per policies of the Pasco County Comprehensive Plan, bicycle and pedestrian facilities should be included in the planning and design of all roadway improvement projects involving widening or new construction. In addition, both the Comprehensive Plan and the Pasco County MPO 2035 LRTP identify a planned multi-use trail along the Overpass Road corridor. As such, both pedestrian and bicycle facilities are anticipated to be constructed as part of the Overpass Road project.
Public transportation services in Pasco County are provided by the Pasco County Board of County Commissioners through Pasco County Public Transportation (PCPT). The services predominantly consist of fixed-route transit buses and paratransit service operating throughout West Pasco, Dade City, and the City of Zephyrhills. According to the Pasco County Comprehensive Plan, Overpass Road (including the proposed extension) will serve as a future local transit route.