Intersection of Turkey Oak, S.R. 44

The Hernando-Citrus Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) on Thursday, Sept. 23, will discuss a study to determine the feasibility of rerouting traffic heading west on State Road 44 onto Turkey Oak.

The Hernando-Citrus Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) will hear an update Thursday from its consultant regarding a proposed Turkey Oak bypass to relieve traffic in Crystal River.

City officials are concerned that once the parkway’s extension to State Road 44 and ultimately to County Road 486 is done, much of the traffic would head toward U.S. 19 and cause significant blockages in downtown Crystal River.

Crystal River officials say Turkey Oak bypass would divert some of that traffic.

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The MPO’s consultant, Kimley Horn and Associates, divided the project into two phases: the suitability of Turkey Oak Drive as a potential interim bypass route and the identification of potential impacts to other corridors in Citrus County.

Also at Thursday’s meeting, the interview panel for a new MPO executive director is recommending two people for the post: Joel Graeff and Robert Esposito.

Graeff has more than 20 years experience in the management and planning of transportation infrastructure and facilities for the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Esposito is the government affairs liaison with the Florida Department of Transportation, District 7 in Tampa.

Former Executive Director Steve Diez died last month at the age of 66. MPO planner Carlene Riecss is serving in that post until a new director is selected.

The Hernando-Citrus Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) meeting is at 1:30 p.m. at the Lecanto Government Center, 3600 W. Sovereign Path, room 166.

To view the entire agenda, visit

Contact Chronicle reporter Michael D. Bates at 352-563-3205 or To see more of his stories, visit