Wekiva Parkway Environmentalism

Wekiva Parkway shows  care for the environment.

Wekiva Parkway is one of three legacy projects in District Five, and it has set the standard for environmental sensitivity. On a recent tour of sections 4A and 4B, some of those innovations really stood out.

Wekiva Parkway Environmentalism
A little batty – More than a dozen large bat houses were installed along sections 4A and 4B of the FDOT District Five legacy project, Wekiva Parkway. This $1.6 billion beltway around Central Florida uses innovative engineering to lessen the impact of our roadways on the environment. Things like these bat houses keep the animals safe. Each of these structures can hold about 1,200 bats. The bats leave each night at dusk in what’s known as a fly out.

Wekiva Parkway Environmentalism
Bears there – This bridge has already made the lives of local bears better. A contractor for the project told FDOT that the Florida black bears in the area impeded construction and transit. The entire project was elevated about 20 feet and the overpass was built. It didn’t take the bears long to figure out how to use it once it was ready. Contractors reported seeing a mother and baby gambol through the underpass just one day prior to this photo. This is one of the aspects of the project that makes the Wekiva Parkway a shining example of transportation planning.

Wekiva Parkway Environmentalism
Get back home – Contractors and FDOT staff escort a reporter to a wildlife fence jump out along sections 4A and 4B on Wekiva Parkway. Jump outs are a new thing in District Five, used only on one other project. The concept is to give animals a way back in. Some animals do get through the fence line onto the corridor, and they need a way to get back in. A contractor explained that animals will follow the fence line looking for gaps and openings. This jump out is elevated and gives the animals a place to jump down into safety again. The design makes it much more difficult for them to jump up and out.

Wekiva Parkway Environmentalism
Coming soon – Authorized in 2004 by the Wekiva Parkway and Protection Act (Chapter 369, Part III, F.S.), this expressway has been heralded as a shining example for transportation planning through an environmentally sensitive area. Development of the Wekiva Parkway has included setting aside more than 3,400 acres of land for conservation. The parkway also will include numerous wildlife bridges and will be largely elevated to reduce accidents between vehicles and wildlife.

Learn more at www.wekivaparkway.com

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