The state Division of Transportation has paused plans to increase Florida’s Turnpike northwest from Wildwood after 4 potential routes drew native opposition, the company mentioned.
The Division of Transportation mentioned in a information launch that suggestions turned up considerations with “parts” of all 4 proposed routes.
“The objective of each challenge is to make sure all wants are met, environmental considerations are addressed, and group traits are protected,” Division of Transportation Secretary Jared Perdue mentioned in a press release. “The area and area people ought to be assured that as we proceed to refine and develop viable hall ideas for this space, it is going to embrace intensive engagement with group leaders and the group as an entire.”
The information launch additionally mentioned the division is dedicating assets to enhancements alongside the Interstate 75 hall. Transportation officers didn’t instantly reply to requests for touch upon Thursday.
The pause drew fast assist from a number of teams which have labored to dam the turnpike extension, which originated in a 2019 legislation that known as for 3 highway tasks generally known as “multi-use corridors of regional financial significance,” or “M-CORES.” Main elements of the legislation have been later scrapped, however the turnpike extension remained.
In an e-mail to supporters, Vivian Younger, communications director of the growth-management group 1000 Mates of Florida, credited native residents and elected officers “who clearly perceive the numerous unfavorable impacts of the proposed turnpike extension — and related sprawling growth — on their rural economies, water high quality, atmosphere and high quality of life.”
Resolutions supporting a “no-build” possibility have been backed by the Citrus County Fee, the Levy County Fee, the Dunnellon Metropolis Council, the Inglis City Fee, the Yankeetown Council and the Inverness Metropolis Council.
A steering committee of the No Roads to Smash Coalition known as the pause “one of the best information the No Roads to Smash group has obtained since M-CORES reared its ugly head in 2019.”
“This ‘pause,’ no matter it might imply, is instantly associated to the mobilization of the Citrus, Levy, Marion and Sumter county voters who dared to refuse to take ‘toll’ for a solution,” the No Roads committee mentioned in a information launch.
The M-CORE plans in 2019 additionally included constructing a toll highway from Collier County to Polk County and lengthening the Suncoast Parkway from Citrus County to Jefferson County.
The plans have been scaled again in 2021. The Collier to Polk toll highway was dropped. The proposed route working north from Citrus County was revamped to extra weave alongside U.S. 19, connecting at Interstate 10 in Madison County.
The division had been working towards producing an end-of-the-year “standing report” on the turnpike extension, with public conferences anticipated to be held in the course of the first half of 2023.
Transportation officers have additionally adopted a corridor-evaluation course of that features a project-development and atmosphere examine. Along with the 4 routes, the method has included taking a look at a no-build possibility.
The examine had a second quarter 2024 completion timeline.
The division information launch didn’t spell out what the pause means for the timeline, solely that “extra particulars will likely be accessible as we transfer additional alongside.”
The No Roads to Smash Coalition launch interpreted the “extra particulars” line as a sign the challenge isn’t “useless.”
“Till FDOT makes its place crystal clear, we’ll stay vigilant and concerned,” the coalition mentioned.
Jim Turner experiences for the Information Service of Florida.