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A new I-75 interchange opens in Wesley Chapel with the promise of improved traffic flow

pascointerchange_pasgovt_011823.jpg
Pasco County
The new diamond-shaped interchange at Interstate 75 includes a flyover ramp on Overpass Road as well as more traffic lanes. Before the $64 million project was completed, Overpass simply passed over I-75.

The diverging diamond interchange is at Overpass Road, which once had only a bridge over the interstate but now includes more lanes and a flyover exit.

The Florida Department of Transportation took another step toward easing traffic congestion along Interstate 75 in Pasco County with the opening Wednesday of a new interchange in Wesley Chapel.

The diverging diamond interchange connects with Overpass Road, which runs east-west between County Road 54 and State Road 52.

“Back a couple of years ago, this was just a bridge; this was Overpass Bridge all the way from Old Pasco Road all the way over to Boyette and beyond,” Margaret Smith, Pasco’s engineering service director, said in a video of the ceremony provided by the county. “What we’ve done is turn it into a full interchange with I-75."

The $64.6 million project includes a flyover ramp from westbound Overpass onto southbound I-75. In addition, Overpass is now four lanes west of the interstate to Old Pasco Road and six lanes to Boyette Road on the east side.

Although some construction work remains, county officials celebrated the opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

County officials said the interchange, which took about 10 years to plan, fund and build, will make it easier for motorists to enter and exit I-75, allow for greater traffic volume and reduce delays in the area.

“It’s a big difference from what we had before,” Smith said.

The project was funded by the county in partnership with the Florida Department of Transportation. Construction began in October 2020.

Unlike a conventional interchange, diamond interchanges are designed to make travel safer by eliminating left turns in front of oncoming traffic and limiting the number of traffic signal phases.

This diamond interchange opens about a year after another one a few miles to the south at I-75 and State Road 56. Together, they are expected to relieve often-bottlenecked traffic in the area.

“If the county and the state had not worked together, we’d be looking at years before we’d finally be able to deliver them,” said David Gwynn, secretary for FDOT’s District 7, which includes Pasco.

I’m the online producer for Health News Florida, a collaboration of public radio stations and NPR that delivers news about health care issues.