Suncoast Parkway 2 permits in hand at Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise, construction bidding opened

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Lecanto, FL–According to an e-mail sent out this afternoon by Citrus County Administrator, Randy Oliver, Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise has received the necessary permits to begin the construction bidding process for the Suncoast Parkway 2 Project.

The project has seen years of delays waiting on specific permits to go forward, such as the United States Fish and Wildlife Commission permit, a permit which had originally focused on the localized habitats of the Homosassa Shrew and the Indigo Snake, among others.

The federally-recognized historic site of Etna was also a factor in construction delays. Etna is one of only 10 federally-recognized historic sites in Citrus County.

FTE officials have not yet shared with the public the mitigation measures to protect these species or the Etna historical site.

On the FTE’s suncoast2online.com website, an update has been posted stating that an August 11th advertisement was created for construction bids, confirming Oliver’s internal e-mail, but no link to the advertisement could be found. The website also shared that the construction bid opening is currently scheduled for October 17.

In Citrus County, the Citrus County Commission, the Citrus County Chamber, and the Economic Development Authority of Citrus County have all supported this $256 million transportation project.

Even before today’s announcement was made about the construction of the Suncoast Parkway 2, large developments were already coming to the Suncoast Region, affecting Citrus, Hernando, Marion, and Sumter Counties.

Arizona King Ranch is slated for southern Marion County near the Withlacoochee River with a proposed 11,000 homes. The Villages is expanding further into Sumter County, towards Wildwood and Rutland. Florida Rock-backed, Quarry Preserve, a proposed 5,600 home development is planned to start construction in 2020 in Hernando County near the intersection of highways 98 and 491. And, Citrus Hills is expanding in Citrus County.

At this time, it is uncertain if opponents of the Suncoast Parkway 2 are planning to sue to stop or slow the project. Several months ago, Robert Roscow, one of the original founders of the Friends of Etna non-profit organization, shared with the Suncoast Standard that he was considering bringing a lawsuit against the FTE and was in talks with two attorneys, Robert Hartsell and Ralf Brookes, about the matter.

 

Submitted by: Lou Newman, CEO/Publisher on August 15, 2917 at 3:53 PM

Updated at 4:29 PM to reflect the following changes: from Florida Fish and Wildlife to United States Fish and Wildlife and from Florida Turnpike Enterprises to Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise.

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