State looking at direct connection to turnpike from Poinciana



POINCIANA, Fla. - A major transportation project will soon get underway in Poinciana.

The state is now looking at building a direct connection to the toll road at Cypress Parkway and Pleasant Hill Road, but Channel 9's Racquel Asa found the project won't be an easy one to do.

In all, there are 10 routes being considered, but the challenge will be striking the balance between preservation and transportation.

The drive right now for Stan Maminski and his wife out of Poinciana isn't easy, especially if they're looking to get on the turnpike.

"Right now, businesses look at this area and it's a dead zone," said Maminski. "You know, yeah it's a great place to live, but you can't get out of there so why would I put a business there."

It's a 16-mile drive through local roads to get to the turnpike from Poinciana, and it took Asa nearly 30 minutes to get there in light traffic.

Residents told Channel 9 it's much worse during rush hour.

"If we ever have another hurricane, there's no way to get 70,000 people who live here out of Poinciana," said Maminski.

With the alternatives the state showed Channel 9 on Tuesday, the trip to the turnpike is cut by nearly 10 miles.

"You are looking at about 11 years until a road would be open," said Amy Sirmans of the Florida Department of Transportation. "There's a lot of balance in this project."

The state is spending $3.2 million on an environmental study, which could take up to five years to complete.

"This is very similar to the Wekiva Parkway project. It is an environmentally sensitive area," said Sirmans.

The state plans to narrow the alternate routes down to three by March. Once that happens, officials will be able to go into specific areas and study the impact.