Parkway proposal

FDOT parkway proposals put the project's County Road 486 exit east of Pine Ridge Boulevard entrance.

Pine Ridge residents fearing that the second phase of the Suncoast Parkway 2 would end at their subdivision entrance breathed a sigh of relief Thursday after state transportation officials presented two proposals, each about 1,400 feet east of the community’s front door.

Florida Department of Transportation officials hosted a public meeting Thursday at the Citrus County National Guard Armory in Crystal River to present the latest extension of the North/South corridor along Florida’s west coast.

“We listened. We met with the homeowners associations. We heard ... they did not want a direct connection (onto West Pine Ridge Boulevard),” said Stephanie Eisenberg, spokeswoman for the FDOT.

Both plans include ending the parkway just short of County Road 486 but with an exit onto County Road 486 at the current intersection of North Knoll Road.

The first proposal has that exit as a flyover of the future planned phase of the parkway. The second proposal has simply an exit at the same North Knoll Road intersection but with plans to move it west of the West Pine Ridge Boulevard intersection if the parkway is ever extended further north.

Current construction of the parkway, which ends at U.S. 98, extends from County Road 491 to State Road 44.

Pine Ridge resident Wayne Tuch, 70, said he was concerned that if the parkway exit intersected County Road 486 at West Pine Ridge Boulevard it would have brought too much traffic to that intersection.

East of there, “would be an OK compromise,” he said.

Too many drivers already use West Pine Ridge Boulevard to County Road 491 as it is, said the retired electrical contractor. Adding the parkway intersection there would have only made traffic at the intersection worse.   

Work on the $134.6 million project extending the Suncoast Parkway from U.S. 98 to State Road 44 began in April and is expected to wrap up in 2022. 

The state is committing $86.6 million to design, buy right of way and build the additional 3 miles between State Road 44 and County Road 486 in Lecanto. That work could start in 2024.

Pine Ridge resident Stu Barnette, 84, said he came to the meeting wanting to know if FDOT heard his community’s concerns. He said FDOT did.

“This will work. It will direct traffic away from Pine Ridge Boulevard,” he said

But Denny King, 72, also a Pine Ridge resident, said the fear of traffic “was all overblown.”

Florida needs a north/south thoroughfare on its west coast and the parkway will provide that, he said.

He also doesn’t think the parkway will bring much traffic to Pine Ridge. Drivers who utilize Pine Ridge Boulevard to County Road 491 will keep doing so, but the parkway won’t change that traffic flow much.

“Twenty five years from now, maybe,” he said. “But not now.”  

For project updates go to www.suncoast2.com.

Contact Chronicle reporter Fred Hiers at fred.hiers@chronicleonline.com or 352-397-5914.

(2) comments

PatriciaOatsvall

Everybody wake up this is not helping anyone. That has set up home here. Just like in Crystal River they are trying to sell tax base. There selling a small town atmosphere yet they allowed the expansion of almost every one that had money. To come here stop.

crizor

"Current construction of the parkway extends from County Road 491 to State Road 44."

Umm No, it extends from US 98 to SR44 and then on to CR484. Get yourself a map or Google it. This is probably why people thought it would end /intersect at the entrance of pine ridge. Probably read about it here.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.