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County planning Hicks Road sidewalk project

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Published:   |   Updated: April 18, 2014 at 11:35 AM

Pasco County Engineering Services held a neighborhood meeting Tuesday night at Hudson High School concerning a sidewalk planned on Hicks Road from State Road 52 to Hudson Avenue.

The project will add a 6-foot sidewalk on Hicks Road for about 10,800 feet, to provide safety improvements for the residents along the roadway and provide access to Veteran’s Memorial Park, businesses along Hudson Avenue and State Road 52 and to the schools in the area.

Deborah Bolduc, program administrator for Pasco County Engineering Services, Paul Manuel from Coastal Engineering and Pasco Commissioner Jack Mariano, along with others, gave a short presentation to local residents to discuss the route study and report, view a graphic representation of possible alternative alignments and discuss the project schedule. They took questions and comments afterward.

“In the planning phase, we look at alternative routes and alignments,” Manuel said. “The route study is the phase we are in right now and we want to get feedback.”

Alternative A would bring a 6-foot sidewalk to the east side of the right of way for Hicks Road from State Road 52 to Hudson Avenue, within an additional 10 feet of right of way to the east of the existing right-of-way line at Hicks Road. Alternative B would be a mirror image on the west side of Hicks Road.

The “no build” alternative would provide no construction improvements and leave the area as is.

When Mariano asked the crowd of 40 to 50 residents who attended the meeting which side they preferred the sidewalk go on, the majority raised their hands for the East side, where the schools are located.

Both alternatives were deemed highly effective in accomplishing the county’s long range plans for the area and increasing pedestrian safety. Environmental impacts are thought to be minimal, the only concern being possible existing gopher tortoise burrows in the project area.

“There will be environmental impacts with any construction project,” Manuel said.

The east sidewalk may impact 54 properties, requiring acquisition of 99,469 square feet of property. The west sidewalk may impact 92 properties and require acquisition of 101,439 square feet.

Residents would be reimbursed for loss of property and the moving of fences and mailboxes.

“You’ll get fully compensated for whatever we need to do on your property,” Mariano said. “The process for right-of-way acquisition can be a long, drawn out thing and the only thing that can speed it up is if everyone agrees to market value and doesn’t go out and get an attorney to argue it.”

The total estimated cost for right-of-way acquisition, design and construction of the east sidewalk is $1,440,900 and the west sidewalk would be $1,559,400.

The project would be paid for with Penny for Pasco sales tax revenue.

Residents were urged to leave specific questions and comments about their properties on comment forms they could hand in or mail out after the meeting.

“If you have some unique situations or conditions you are aware of as a resident along this road, please call it out to us,” Bolduc said.

The route study and design phase will continue through this year and the right-of-way acquisition phase will begin later this year and continue through 2016. The construction phase is planned for 2017.

You can reach Daylina at dmiller@suncoastnews.com or (727) 815-1067(727) 815-1067. Follow her on Twitter at @DaylinaMiller.

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