florida turnpike extension

FDOT halts Planned Northern Turnpike Extension through Florida’s Nature Coast

By Florida's Original NatureCoaster™ Posted on August 4, 2022

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has completed the Alternative Corridor Evaluation (ACE) Study for the Northern Turnpike Extension without recommending a specific corridor and will not pursue the project any further until options can be reassessed to address concerns of the Department and the community.

The Levy Board of County Commissioners, the Citrus Board of County Commissioners, the Dunnellon City Council, the Inglis Town Commission, the Yankeetown Council, and the Inverness City Council all passed “No Build” resolutions.

Florida Turnpike Enterprise Alternative Corridor Evaluation Study Concludes with no Viable Proposed Corridors

The No Roads to Ruin Coalition released a press release today questioning whether FDOT’s announcement that the proposed turnpike extensions were halted did not give a clear indication that they were permanently dismissed.

The No Roads to Ruin Coalition’s Committee stated, “After more than three years of fighting the varied proposed new toll roads toward getting a ‘No Build’ or ‘No Action’ decision from FDOT/FTE, we are unclear about how ‘no viable proposed corridors’ relates to the current Project Development and Environment (PD&E) Study and a no build/no action decision.

We have other questions including: How does this ‘pause’ impact the Department’s statutory requirements related to the status report due to the Governor and Legislature by the end of this year? Is the Department required, or planning to, complete the PD&E study? How long will the voters of Citrus, Levy, Marion, and Sumter counties have to wait until the threat of this project is eliminated?”

Based on feedback received from across the Northern Turnpike Extension four-county study area, significant concerns were identified with portions of all four initially proposed corridors. The Florida Department of Transportation stated that it deeply values community input and is committed to thoroughly exploring all concerns received during this process.

“The goal of every project is to ensure all needs are met, environmental concerns are addressed, and community characteristics are protected. The region and local community should be assured that as we continue to refine and develop viable corridor concepts for this area, it will include extensive engagement with community leaders and the community as a whole,” said Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Jared W. Perdue, P.E.

In the near term, to help address regional and statewide transportation needs, the Department is dedicating resources to prioritize improvements on the Interstate 75 corridor. Much of the feedback received from local communities that would be impacted by the proposed Northern Turnpike Extension during the ACE study recommended reviewing and prioritizing solutions for the I-75 corridor as part of the overall process.

The foundation of every FDOT project is to balance evolving transportation needs with the community vision of the region and the local area. This project began in 2019 with the M-Cores (Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance) bill being signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis. In 2021, the bill was technically repealed, but the plans for the northern turnpike extensions through Florida’s Nature Coast continued to be studied, which led to widespread protest by residents and area businesses.

Conducting evaluations in early planning stages of projects like the ACE study specifically seeks to thoroughly review any impacts and obtain feedback prior to proceeding further on projects and is precisely why we have processes like this.

FDOT appreciates all the input and efforts from the local communities, government partners, and stakeholders. We look forward to collaborating toward a shared transportation vision for the region and local area.

The Florida Department of Transportation’s mission is to provide a safe transportation system that ensures the mobility of people and goods, enhances economic prosperity, and preserves the quality of the state’s environment and communities. The department is committed to building a transportation system that not only fits the current needs of Florida’s residents and visitors, but also enhances mobility throughout the state to accommodate its consistent and rapid growth.

The unique nature of the Sunshine State and its year-round warm climate provides numerous opportunities to achieve the department’s mission through multiple transportation modes including highways/streets, air, rail, sea, spaceports, transit, and the ever-expanding deployment of bicycle & pedestrian facilities.

Additional details about the northern turnpike extension will be forthcoming. Until then, the project’s website, www.floridasturnpike.com/NTE, will remain active as a resource for project updates.

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