WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. (TBO.com) - Pasco County has received preliminary approval from the Federal Highway Administration to convert Overpass Road into a full access interchange with Interstate 75.

The project calls for converting the highway overpass, located halfway between the State Road 54 and 52 exits, into a full interchange by 2020. Overpass Road, which currently dead ends at the Palm Cove subdivision, would be widened to six lanes and extended nine miles east to connect with U.S. 301 in Zephyrhills.

“It’s a new interchange, so it can take up to four or five years to get a new one through,” said David Winkle, a planning analyst for the Florida Department of Transportation.

He said DOT supports the project, but the Federal Highway Administration has the final say. County commissioners have earmarked $15 million in the next cycle of Penny for Pasco to build the interchange. The estimated cost ranges from $51 million to $95 million, depending on the design.

Winkle said the interchange would be built as a traditional diamond interchange and converted to a “flyover” style — like the Bruce B. Downs Boulevard interchange in New Tampa — in the future. The county and DOT plan to buy the additional right-of-way for the flyover ramp upfront.

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