New S.R. 56 exit ramp opens for commuters in Pasco
Two years after construction started, Pasco County commuters got to test out the new State Road 56 exit ramp in Wesley Chapel for the first time this week. The Florida Department of Transportation opened the revamped exit shortly after 1 a.m. Tuesday. The $29.9 million project extends the interchange so northbound drivers on Interstate 275 can exit without having to merge with traffic from Interstate 75. The agency posted several flashing signs to alert motorists to the new exit, which is 2 miles south of the previous exit, spokeswoman Kris Carson said. Motorists who miss the exit must travel 4 miles north to the State Road 54 exit. "We had a few hiccups but no major problems," Carson said. "More than a few people missed the exit, but that always happens for the first few days."People get easily distracted," she said. "Once they miss it, they don't miss it again." Carson said there were no accidents reported on the first day, although a few drivers who missed the exit tried to make a U-turn on the interstate. The project also includes the repaving and widening of I-75 from four to six lanes from its apex with I-275 to the S.R. 56 exit. A separate widening project for the 4-mile stretch between the S.R. 56 and S.R. 54 exits should be completed in 2012.
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