Orange County Celebrates Unveiling of Wekiva Parkway in Apopka
Orange County and the Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFX) celebrated the opening of its newly built 5-mile stretch of the Wekiva Parkway on July 26. The ribbon-cutting ceremony, held at the Belgian Street Bridge in Apopka, welcomed community leaders from Orange, Lake and Seminole counties.
The Wekiva Parkway, referred to as State Road 429, is a cooperative effort between the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and CFX. CFX oversees the Orange County portion of the parkway and FDOT is responsible for the portions in Lake and Seminole Counties. This new portion begins at U.S. Highway 441 and extends north to Kelly Park Road, connecting to the Florida Turnpike and State Road 408.
Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs currently serves on the Governing Board of CFX and is a staunch advocate for transparency of operations and accountability for citizens and toll-payers of the region. Mayor Jacobs has been a leader in transportation issues since she first was elected District 1 County Commissioner in 2000 and works collaboratively with elected officials and policy leaders throughout Central Florida to help create, strengthen and maintain the region’s transportation infrastructure.
From her earliest days on the Wekiva River Basin Commission and since being elected Mayor in 2011, the Wekiva Parkway remains one of Mayor Jacobs greatest priorities. In addition to the thousands of jobs created and the long-term economic impact, this highway project will benefit the lives of thousands of Floridians. The eventual completion of the 25-mile toll road will make travel easier and more convenient through Lake, Orange, and Seminole counties and will relieve congestion.
“Today’s Wekiva Parkway ribbon cutting ceremony represents a real milestone for Central Florida, particularly with regard to completing the Central Florida beltway – a fully funded innovation-driven project that is crucial to our current and future quality of life, as well as our thriving economy,” Mayor Teresa Jacobs said. “Not only is the Wekiva Parkway critical to relieving traffic congestion – while also protecting wildlife and vital natural resources – on the larger scale this serves as a great example of regional success through collaboration. Together we have worked to create innovative, sustainable transportation infrastructure, for the good of generations to come.”
The Wekiva Parkway is expected to connect to State Road 417, completing the beltway around Central Florida, while helping to protect natural resources surrounding the Wekiva River.
Construction on the first phase began in 2014 and is expected to be finished in 2021. The project is estimated to cost $1.6 billion and includes $500 million of non-toll road improvements. The first section will help relieve traffic congestion and provide travel alternatives for drivers who use U.S. Highway 441. Once completed, the Wekiva Parkway will cover 25 miles in Orange, Seminole and Lake counties.
The parkway was designed and built to preserve the natural resources and the wildlife in the area. Throughout the construction process, more than 3,400 acres of land was set aside for conservation. The parkway includes wildlife bridges to help prevent accidents between drivers and wildlife.
For more information, visit www.wekivaparkway.com.