FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the Wekiva Parkway?
The Wekiva Parkway (State Road (S.R.) 429) is a 25-mile toll road under construction that is completing the beltway around metropolitan Orlando. Authorized in 2004 by the Wekiva Parkway and Protection Act (Chapter 369, Part III, F.S.), this expressway has been heralded as an example for transportation planning through an environmentally sensitive area – the Wekiva River Basin. Development of the Wekiva Parkway has included setting aside more than 3,400 acres of land for conservation. The parkway also includes numerous wildlife bridges, and will be largely elevated to reduce accidents between vehicles and wildlife.
As of 2020, 13 miles of the parkway were open to traffic and many of the non-toll road improvements had been completed.
The parkway is being developed jointly by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the Central Florida Expressway (CFX). The Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise operates the FDOT sections. The CFX sections of the parkway were completed in 2018.
How will the Wekiva Parkway benefit me?
With 13 miles of the Wekiva Parkway open in 2020, more than half of the gap in the beltway has been filled. Open sections of the parkway have reduced commute times by 10-15 minutes or more. The parkway also is helping to relieve congestion on U.S. 441 and local roads including Plymouth Sorrento Road (County Road 437), Round Lake Road and Mount Plymouth Road (C.R. 435).
Once completed, the Wekiva Parkway will reduce traffic congestion and enhance safety on S.R. 46 and other area roads. The Wekiva Parkway should improve safety and reduce vehicle crashes, particularly on S.R. 46, by separating motorists driving between counties from those making shorter, more local trips. The parkway also will be largely elevated and include wildlife bridges that should reduce collisions between vehicles and animals.
The parkway will provide access to private properties and a non-tolled option for local trips from the C.R. 46A realignment in Lake County to Orange Boulevard (C.R. 431) in Seminole County. This will be accomplished by a non-tolled service road parallel to the Wekiva Parkway.
The parkway features all electronic tolling, so motorists do not need cash. They can pay their tolls without slowing down or stopping.
A 10-mile multi-use trail also will parallel sections of the parkway, further enhancing access to the area's state-owned, natural lands for birders, hikers, bikers and others.
Where does the Wekiva Parkway go?
The parkway begins at the S.R. 429 (Daniel Webster Western Beltway)/S.R. 414 (John Land Apopka Expressway) interchange at the Connector Road just north of U.S. 441 in Apopka. From there it goes north past the Kelly Park Road interchange to a systems interchange at Plymouth Sorrento Road and Haas Road-Ondich Road, just south of the Orange County-Lake County line.
A connection from the systems interchange to the northwest, across the county line to connect with S.R. 46 near Round Lake Road opened to traffic on March 31, 2018. The other leg from the systems interchange heads east, paralleling Haas Road. At C.R. 435 the parkway veers northeast to connect to S.R. 46 east of Camp Challenge Road in east Lake County.
Sections currently under construction will continue the parkway east roughly along the S.R. 46 corridor, across the Wekiva River, to near Orange Boulevard in Sanford, before veering south to connect to Interstate 4 and S.R. 417.
Where will I be able to get onto the Wekiva Parkway?
Interchange locations were kept to a minimum per the 2004 Wekiva Parkway & Protection Act to curb potential development in the environmentally sensitive area. Completed interchanges include:
Once completed, motorists also will be able to access the parkway in the following locations:
How much will it cost to drive on the Wekiva Parkway?
The Wekiva Parkway features all electronic tolling, so you will want to have an E-PASS or SunPass transponder to avoid paying a higher toll. Toll costs for the sections operated by each agency can be found at the following links:
How much will it cost to build the Wekiva Parkway?
This estimated $1.6 billion project involves $500 million of non-toll road improvements including:
Through the partnership between the Central Florida Expressway Authority and the Florida Department of Transportation, the Wekiva Parkway is being funded through the respective agency work plans.
Who is heading up the effort to build the Wekiva Parkway?
The Wekiva Parkway is a cooperative effort between the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the Central Florida Expressway Authority. CFX is primarily responsible for the Orange County portion, while the FDOT is responsible for the portions in Lake and Seminole counties. CFX completed its last sections in 2018.
What’s happening now with the Wekiva Parkway?
In 2020, Sections 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 2C, 4A, 4B, and 5 were open to traffic. FDOT also had completed widening and other improvements to S.R. 46 and part of U.S. 441 as part of Sections 3A and 3B.
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is currently building Sections 6, 7A, 7B, and 8. Section 7B - the last parkway section to get underway - began construction on July 15, 2019.
The entire parkway is expected to open to traffic in 2023, weather and other unexpected conditions not withstanding.
How will construction occur?
The Wekiva Parkway is being built in sections. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) began construction on Sections 4A and 4B on Feb. 18, 2013. This section opened January 20, 2016, forming 3.14 miles of limited access toll road from C.R. 435/Mount Plymouth Road, north across the Lake County Line/Orange County Line, northeast to an interchange at State Road 46 west of Old McDonald Road. Section 5 opened to traffic in October 2019.
CFX in 2015 began construction on Sections 1A and 1B. Those sections opened on July 27, 2017. Construction on Sections 2A, 2B and 2C began in 2016 and finished on March 31, 2018. This completed CFX’s portions of the parkway.
FDOT’s Sections 6, 7A, 7B, and 8 are currently under construction. This includes work along about 15 miles of the S.R. 46 corridor in east Lake and Seminole counties.
When will the Wekiva Parkway be open for traffic?
Currently, 13 miles of the parkway are open to traffic from the S.R. 429 (Daniel Webster Western Beltway)/S.R. 414 (John Land Apopka Expressway) interchange at the Connector Road just north of U.S. 441 in Apopka to a systems interchange just south of the Orange County-Lake County line. The parkway has two connections from the systems interchange to S.R. 46: one near Round Lake Road, and the other east of Camp Challenge Road. These S.R. 46 connections opened on March 31, 2018.
The remaining parkway sections are scheduled to be open to traffic in 2023, weather and other unexpected conditions not withstanding.
Will there be public meetings for the Wekiva Parkway?
More than 30 public meetings and public hearings attended by nearly 7,000 people have been held for the project from the Project Development and Environment (PD&E) Study, through design and construction. CFX completed numerous public meetings for its sections in 2015.
FDOT in 2019 conducted the final project public meeting - a pre-construction open house for Section 7B, the final parkway section to get underway.
You can check out the recaps and materials from the various meetings by clicking here.
How does the construction of the Wekiva Parkway impact the environment?
Authorized by the landmark 2004 Wekiva Parkway & Protection Act, development of the Wekiva Parkway has included setting aside more than 3,400 acres of land for conservation. The large parcels purchased otherwise potentially could have been developed in this environmentally sensitive area.
Among the primary goals are to meet regional mobility needs while minimizing impacts to the Wekiva River Basin and improving wildlife habitat connectivity between conservation lands. The parkway also includes three wildlife bridges and new longer, higher-profile bridges over the Wekiva River. Together the bridges provide 7,900 feet of safe passage underneath travel lanes for animals. The previous two wildlife tunnels provided about 80 feet of passage. The parkway also will be largely elevated to reduce accidents between vehicles and wildlife. About a mile of C.R. 46A has been removed from the Seminole State Forest to eliminate collisions between wildlife and vehicles.
Will there be a trail along the Wekiva Parkway?
The Florida Department of Transportation is building a 10-mile, multi-use trail along portions of Sections 4A, 4B, 5, 6 and 7A in Orange, east Lake and Seminole Counties. The trail crosses over a new, high-profile bridge over the Wekiva River. The Wekiva Parkway trail is planned to tie into a proposed extension of the West Orange Trail in Orange County, the Lake-Wekiva trail in Lake County and an extension of the Seminole-Wekiva Trail in Seminole County.
Approximately 7,700 feet of the trail will be bridged along Section 6 – including a 2,000-foot-bridge over the Wekiva River.
What will the bridge over the Wekiva River look like?
The look of the Wekiva River bridge is part of the Section 6 design. The Florida Department of Transportation coordinated with local, state and federal environmental officials, environmental advocates and other key stakeholders to ensure the bridge helps to protect wildlife and the river, while also having a look that fits in with the context of the surrounding natural environment. You can learn more about the bridge design by clicking here. In 2020, one bridge was open and the other two were under construction.
Is the Wekiva Parkway expected to have an impact on the area economy?
Yes. Using the Federal Highway Administration formula, we estimate that during design & construction, the Wekiva Parkway will provide more than 35,000 jobs directly or indirectly related to the project.
How will tolls be collected on the Wekiva Parkway?
The parkway features all electronic tolling to maximize traffic flow and for enhanced motorist convenience. The parkway features a cashless system of toll collection. Motorists can pay their tolls at safe highway and ramp speeds, without having to slow down or stop.
I live in the area of the parkway, will my property be affected?
The Central Florida Expressway Authority has completed the acquisition of properties and construction for its 10 miles of the expressway. The Florida Department of Transportation has completed its acquisition of properties as well.
How will I be able to stay informed about the Wekiva Parkway?
You can check this website periodically for updates on this landmark project, as well as to view fact sheets, project presentations and other material. You can also contact the project community outreach specialist by phone at 407-710-5610 or via email at email@example.com.
And you can request a presentation to your neighborhood association or community organization by emailing the community outreach specialist at firstname.lastname@example.org with the details of your group meeting.
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