TAVARES— The Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority will present the final alignment of the Wekiva Parkway to the Lake County Board of County Commissioners for approval on Tuesday, Dec. 7, beginning at 9 a.m. at their regularly scheduled meeting.
The Wekiva Parkway Agreement was approved by County Commissioners at the Oct. 26 Board meeting. The Agreement requires that the final alignment be presented to County Commissioners for approval at a public hearing. The final alignment to be presented represents the results of the Wekiva Project Development & Environment (PD&E) Study.
Authorized in 2004 by the Florida legislature in the Wekiva Parkway and Protection Act, the 27-mile Wekiva Parkway would complete the Western Beltway (State Road 429) around metropolitan Orlando. The Parkway will provide an alternative to Interstate 4; relieve State Road 46, U.S. Highway 441 and other local roads of traffic congestion between Orange, Lake and Seminole Counties; improve safety to reduce vehicle fatalities; and develop a transportation facility that minimizes impacts to Wekiva River Basin resources, and wildlife habitats.
In Lake and Seminole counties, the roadway will replace segments of existing State Road 46 by elevating portions of the road in an effort to greatly reduce vehicle collisions with animals.
Currently, two wildlife tunnels under State Road 46 in east Lake County provide a total of 78 ft. of safe crossing for hundreds of animals. The Wekiva Parkway project would replace the tunnels with two wildlife bridges totaling nearly 6,000 ft. in length. The new bridges will enhance habitat connectivity by allowing more animals to safely move between the Rock Springs Run State Reserve and the Seminole State Forest. Another 800 ft. long bridge is planned for the Neighborhood Lakes conservation property to allow wildlife to move to and from the Rock Springs Run State Reserve. In addition, the Parkway would replace the existing 561 ft. Wekiva River bridge with one about 2,150 ft. in length.
Also included is a realigning of County Road 46A, which will close a portion of existing road which passes through the Seminole State Forest, in an effort to reduce the number animals harmed by vehicles and provide habitat connectivity in the forest. The realigned County Road 46A would connect to State Road 46 further to the west, outside the forest.
For more information about the Wekiva Parkway project, contact Jim Stivender, Public Works Director at (352) 483-9010 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.