Proposed routes revealed for new toll road

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By Michael D. Bates
Citrus County Chronicle

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has released the proposed routes for the proposed Coastal Connector highway. The routes were unveiled last Thursday in Crystal River and were to be presented again Tuesday evening at the Hilton in Ocala.
The Coastal Connector would extend the Suncoast Parkway through Citrus and Marion counties to hook up with either the Interstate 75 or U.S. 301 to ease traffic on the interstate and provide a more direct high-speed route between the Ocala region and Tampa Bay, in addition to providing another hurricane evacuation route on the state’s west coast.
The routes were the result of a $3 million study by Montgomery Consulting Group of Winter Park.
About 8,000 people recently got a letter from FDOT notifying them that their home is within 300 feet of a proposed connector highway.
Kelda Senior, spokeswoman with Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise, said nothing is etched in stone at this point and funding beyond this initial survey has not even been secured. Whatever is decided — if anything — is years away, she said.

Contact Chronicle reporter Michael D. Bates at 352-563-3205 or mbates@chronicleonline.com.