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Wekiva Parkway (State Road 429)

Central Florida Expressway Authority, Florida Department of Transportation

Award Category: 
Social Responsibility
Award Year: 
2019

With a population of more than 2.5 million and more than 72 million tourists visiting annually, Central Florida needed to complete the 25-mile Wekiva Parkway (State Road 429) to relieve the increasingly congested regional road network. The Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFX) responded by building a $1.6-billion all-electronic tolling project that combines cutting-edge mobility and technology with enhanced environmental and social innovation, helping to protect wildlife and other natural resources surrounding the ecologically significant Wekiva River. In collaboration with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District Five, and Florida's Turnpike Enterprise, the project is guided by the 2004 Wekiva Parkway and Protection Act, which mandated environmental protections previously unseen in Florida. Under that legislation, CFX and FDOT bought 3,400 acres of conservation land that was previously slated for development, built 1.5 miles of wildlife bridges to replace two small tunnels, elevated the parkway to reduce vehicle collisions with wildlife, and limited the number of interchanges in the environmentally sensitive area. The project succeeded in providing a mobility solution with a true “parkway” feel while also helping to protect the environment surrounding the Wekiva River.