Project Name: Southwest-Central Florida Connector
Impacted Counties: Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Lee, Polk
Condemning Authority: FDOT
The Southwest-Central Florida Corridor Study has begun. The route for this project is expected to be 140 miles long. Property acquisition is tentatively scheduled to begin in the third quarter of 2021.
On May 17, 2019, Governor Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 7068, creating the Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M-CORES) Program within the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) in order to study the feasibility of three different regional corridors: The Suncoast Connector, The Northern Turnpike Connector, and The Southwest-Central Florida Connector. The three roads combined would be approximately 330 miles long.
The stated objective is to advance the construction of regional corridors that are intended to accommodate multiple modes of transportation and multiple types of infrastructure. This would include toll roads, trails, freight and passenger rail, and public transit; and multiple types of infrastructure, such as broadband, water and sewer services. FDOT is expected to perform a project evaluation, including a full Project Development and Environment (PD&E) study.
FDOT convened separate task forces to study each corridor. The first meeting was held on August 27, 2019 at the Tampa Convention Center. A list of upcoming meetings can be found below. The task forces will make recommendations regarding the potential economic and environmental impacts of the corridor and other factors as specified in the M-CORES legislation. Each task force was initially expected to issue a final report by October 1, 2020. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the task forces have been given an extension through November 15, 2020 to complete their final reports. Project design is scheduled to begin immediately after the task forces issue their reports. FDOT will perform a project evaluation according to its own rules, policies, and procedures.
If feasible, construction is expected to begin no later than December 31, 2022.
FDOT released a map showing where the corridors could be located along with existing roads.
While no final route has been determined for this project, a study was previously done on a road with similar start and end points call the Heartland Parkway. A map of that route is here.
The timeline for the project development process is here for your convenience.
The task force released a preliminary map of areas to be avoided for environmental and other concerns.
At the August 25, 2020 task force meeting, members decided to prepare a separate section in their guiding principles devoted to the potential impacts to the Florida panther. They also discussed the potential to improve existing roads and building smaller connector roads. They also discussed wanting a breakdown of all costs involved, including multiple categories of expenses like improvements to feeder roads, environmental costs, and the cost of purchasing properties for the project. A presentation was given regarding the first steps in choosing a route. That presentation is posted here.
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October 20, 2020 – 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. – Community Open House, Charlotte Harbor Event and Conference Center, 75 Taylor St, Punta Gorda, FL 33950