At the February 21, 2017 Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) meeting, MPO Chairman and Citrus County Commissioner Ron Kitchen requested an update on the status of the Withlacoochee State Trail (WST) maintenance. The resurfacing and maintenance of the Withlacoochee Trail has been a priority topic of the local bicycle community, Citrus County Visitor & Convention Bureau, Board of County Commissioners, and the City of Inverness and trail users have long expressed a growing concern about the 25-year old trail’s surface and base conditions.
In order to address this and other trail maintenance issues in both Citrus and Hernando Counties, the MPO has created a Transportation Alternatives (TA) Rehabilitation line item in the Complete Streets section of the List of Priority Projects (LOPP).
The Citrus County LOPP contains the Withlacoochee State Trail. MPO policy provides for annual Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Work Program funding in the $250,000 to $1,000,000 range per county and no match of local funds is required. The WST is the priority in Citrus County and applications have been submitted to FDOT for review and approval.
“The solution of the MPO to provide for the maintenance of the trail in the FDOT work program is a welcome addition.” said Citrus County Director of Public Works, Jeff Rogers.
Citrus County has also been working on an agreement with the State of Florida and the Withlacoochee State Trail Volunteers to have the Citrus County Road Maintenance Department perform the repairs for the trail on an as needed basis. The two programs, funding for resurfacing, and an agreement for maintenance will ensure the Withlacoochee State Trail continues as an asset to the bicycling community in Citrus County and our visitors.