HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla (WFLA) – A controversial road extension project could soon get the green light in Hillsborough County. The Citrus Park Drive extension project has been in the works for years, and money issues and public opposition have kept it on the back burner.
The project would extend Citrus Park Drive from Countryway Boulevard to Sheldon Road, creating another east-west corridor for commuters in northwestern Hillsborough County. Currently, motorists are limited to Linebaugh Avenue, the main thoroughfare through Westchase.
Many residents in and around Westchase look forward to another corridor to alleviate traffic. Lindsey Smith is one of them. “I would love the Citrus Park extension to go through,” Smith said. “We live over by the mall so it would be an easy access to the library and other things like the park.”
Vanessa Vogt lives in the Eagles and thinks it would make her commute less stressful. “Traffic in the morning and the evening, too much,” Vogt said. “Tampa’s roadways, I think, are very congested. Any help we could get with that would be perfect. ”
Those opposed to the project live in the neighborhoods that line Citrus Park Drive and the proposed path of the roadway. Glen Muir is concerned the increased traffic will make the street in front of his neighborhood a racetrack.
“For me, I don’t really see the point. Personally, as a resident living here, we’re a little isolated. We don’t have issues with cars racing down this road all the time,” Muir said. “I think once you open it up, you could end up with that and some dangerous situations.”
Blanchard Stanaland is another area resident who has reservations about the extension. He enjoys walking his dogs on the sidewalk that borders the dead end road.
“I like the privacy. I like being able to walk my dogs without it being a four lane highway,” Stanaland said. “I’d rather not have to see and deal with traffic. That’s part of the reason we moved here. It’s so private. ”
The project would be funded under a proposed transportation sales surtax. The county is holding a public hearing on the matter on Wednesday, April 27th at 6pm at the All People’ Life Center at 6105 E. Sligh Avenue in Tampa.
Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandra Murman represents the area of the county impacted by the extension. She hopes to give the project a green light.
“It is a shovel ready project. All the permits, it’s ready to go,” Murman said. “And I will fight really hard for it because right now people only have one way to get in or out of Westchase and that is Linebaugh Avenue.”
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