Public Media for Central Florida
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

FDOT drops proposed routes for Northern Turnpike Extension, will focus on I-75

Rick Stagg spoke against the Norther Turnpike Extension at a press conference before a Sumter County Commission meeting in The Villages. Photo: Joe Byrnes, WMFE News
Rick Stagg spoke against the Norther Turnpike Extension at a press conference before a Sumter County Commission meeting in The Villages. Photo: Joe Byrnes, WMFE News

The Florida Department of Transportation announced Thursday that -- for now at least -- it has stopped pursuing the Northern Turnpike Extension.

In the short term, FDOT will prioritize improvements to I-75 instead.

The decision follows overwhelming public opposition to the toll road from environmentalists and from local governments and rural neighborhoods in its path, like the historic African-American community of Royal.

Royal resident Beverly Steele wants to keep communication open with FDOT.

"It is good news," Steele said. "To me it means they're going back to the drawing board."

A law passed last year required FDOT to study the extension of Florida's Turnpike starting at Wildwood. Now the agency says it cannot recommend any of the four proposed routes.

But the announcement does not settle on the no-build option.

FDOT Secretary Jared Perdue promises to get community engagement as "we continue to refine and develop viable corridor concepts for this area."

Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.