FDOT celebrates completion of Wekiva Parkway wildlife crossing

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — The Wekiva Parkway project is one step closer to completion.


10 years in the making, once finished, the parkway will join State Road 417 and State Road 429 in completing the toll-road beltway around the Orlando area.

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Workers celebrated the completion of the parkway’s wildlife crossing bridge Monday.

It’s meant to make it easier for the animals that call the river basin home to cross underneath the roadway.

“A great convergence of economic development and environmental protection has come together,’ Seminole County District 3 Commissioner Lee Constantine said.

Protected wildlife is present in the Wekiva Basin. Please follow the posted speed limits & be alert while driving. Be...

Posted by Wekiva Parkway on Monday, November 1, 2021

The bridge stretches about 7,900 feet across the Wekiva River. It replaces three wildlife bridges that were installed previously.

Officials say the new crossing gives animals nearly 100 times the safe passageway than they had before.

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“Now we have an entire parkway that will accommodate safe vehicular traffic to help us as human beings to do what we need to do, but provide safe passage to the bears and all of the critters that live here and call this home,” Lake County District 4 Commissioner Leslie Campione said.

In addition to helping alleviate congestion, the parkway is also meant to reduce the chances for animals to get hit by cars.

The parkway won’t have any toll booths, will have special fencing to protect the wildlife, and will include ten miles of multi-use trails to access state parks.

The Wekiva River Basin State park says they may even see more recreational use from the parkway by connecting trails together.

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“We have the possibility to make 26 miles of hiking trails, through here to Seminole State Forest, and almost to the Ocala National Forest.”

The rest of the Wekiva Parkway project is expected to be complete by early 2023.

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