To reduce the project’s effects to wetlands, we recommend that alternatives 1, 2, and 3 be redesigned to terminate at County Road 15 (Narcoosee Road).” – John Wrubilik, US Fish and Wildlife Service, page 18
We prefer that the road begin at the airport and stop at SR 15/ Narcoossee Road, a position that multiple federal agencies stated in their official comments to the Turnpike Authority in 2012. These comments are quoted throughout this post. However, the Central Florida Expressway Authority is still proposing routes east of Narcoossee Road, including routes that impact Split Oak Forest. This blog post analyzed the most recently released alignments.
Since December of 2017, CFX has been showing two alignments that impact Split Oak Forest less, East 5 and East 6. The following map is from the December 14, 2017 board meeting agenda:
Let’s zoom in a little on Split Oak Forest.
Point A shows where East 5 and 6 begin diverging from the rest of the alignments, crossing Clapp Simms Duda Road onto the parcels owned by various investment companies. Any existing homes on the properties appear vacant and these properties are fenced together with standard four-strand barbed wire and are grazed by cattle. These two options also avoid impacting the mitigation site on the north side of Clapp Simms Duda, here labeled ‘World DRI Mitigation Site’.
The Corps concurs with the USFWS recommendation to reduce the project’s effects to wetlands and redesigning all alternatives to terminate at County Road (CR) 15 (Narcoosee Road). […] It should be noted that if FDOT continues to propose an alternative which extends east of CR 15 the Corps will request dispute resolution.” – Andrew Phillips, US Army Corps of Engineers, page 17
Point B is where the difference in curve radius between East 5 and East 6 is most obvious. East 6 is much closer to the Lake Ajay Village and would take three lots in that community. East 5 takes a less relaxed curve and avoids taking any lots. I confirmed with two CFX-employed engineers that there is no reason that East 6 could not be curved like East 5.
Point C is where East 5 curves early to impact Split Oak, while it could delay curving and continue straight for another couple hundred feet and avoid impacting Split Oak.
The three alternatives merge at Tindall Acres Road and Boggy Creek Road. Beyond this point, the logical terminus is County Road 15. NMFS recommends that the roadway terminate there. The project purpose of supporting traffic demands and system linkage could still be accomplished. This would also eliminate the majority of impacts to the highest quality wetlands along the corridor. The extension of the road into the undeveloped area past County Road 15 would promote further development causing a great deal of indirect impacts to wetlands.” – Brandon Howard, National Marine Fisheries Service, page 17
Point D is where East 5 begins to impact Split Oak, where East 6 avoids Split Oak, but is too close. FWC has previously recommended that roads, homes, and businesses be located over 1,000′ from Split Oak’s boundary, a position that Friends of Split Oak Forest espouses.