Osceola Sprawlway Being Restudied

If you thought plans for ramming new highways through preservation lands in southern Osceola County near the edge of Polk County were dead, think again.

The Central Florida Expressway Authority recently circulated a notice to local elected officials about plans to reopen the conceptual study of four projects that together would create an outer beltway miles south of State Road 417, the so-called Green Way (well, it was still green out there when the road was built).

The studies will be ongoing and will wrap up sometime next year.

The four proposed toll roads are:

Poinciana Parkway extension to I-4.

Southport Connection

Northeast Osceola Connection.

Osceola Expressway Extension.

Altogether, the network would run for 52 miles through some still largely undeveloped sections of lands near existing conservation lands. The main concerns are that the roads would cut through prime habitat for listed species and would make prescribed fire more difficult because of smoke management issues.

In addition, as we have seen from the changes along SR 417 over the years, these roads become development magnets that will attract more urban sprawl into the Everglades headwaters.

Posted in Group Conservation Issues.