DADE CITY — Pasco County commissioners approved more than $2 million for improvements to Moon Lake Road during a Tuesday morning board meeting.
“Years ago this was my district and really very little was spent in that district,” Commissioner Pat Mulieri said. “We went up to the east side and did (projects). I think it’s about time we spent some money in this area and do something for it.”
New, larger signs bearing arrows alerting drivers to a curve in the road have replaced smaller signs. “Brite Sticks” were added to the sign posts, making the warnings more visible.
Some of the work was completed in October and the rest is expected to begin in about 120 days.
The $2.2 million project will place additional curve warning signs with advisory speeds; add solar-power warning flashers to the additional signs; the addition of 1-foot wide shoulders on the entire stretch of the roadway; new vibratory striping on the center line and both edges of the road, causing tires to vibrate when crossed; placing a left turn lane from southbound Moon Lake Road to Bethwood Avenue.
The vote to improve the roadway followed numerous accidents, some of them fatal, along the roughly 4-mile stretch of road.
On July 2, Courtney Little, 17, was driving south on Moon Lake Road on wet pavement from a recent downpour. Her friend, Kimberlee Markou, 16, was a passenger. Just south of Bethwood Avenue, Little’s car lost control, spun counterclockwise and entered the northbound lane. The car was struck on the passenger side by a northbound Dodge Dakota.
Both girls died at the scene.
A road safety audit performed by the Florida Department of Transportation between Jan. 1, 2010, and Dec. 31, 2012, tallied 155 crashes on the roadway. In that span, two people were killed and 51 were injured in wrecks.
There were also three pedestrian and three bicyclist crashes, which resulted in two additional deaths. From the conclusion of that study to August 2013, three more people died in crashes on the road.
The report pointed out that ruts along the stretch of the road allows water to pool, a condition that makes it easier for vehicles to hydroplane.
In other commission business, the board approved six “legislative priorities.”
Those legislative talking points for county lobbyist Shawn Foster include: provide funding for an Innovative Training Center for high school students pursuing careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics); collecting E-911 fees on prepaid mobile phones; bolstering a statute to defend against unlicensed contractors; drafting language for voluntary annexation; continue funding efforts toward transportation projects, including highway, transit, and bicycle and pedestrian trails; and the use of reclaimed water for environmental restoration.