Change is an inevitable part of everyday life. Sometimes a decision to make a change is within our own individual control and other times it is not. When a change is out of our control it can be very uncomfortable and unsettling; forcing our natural urge to fight against it. There are those who embrace change, those who resist change, and those who can do a little bit of both. Either way change is coming, it’s all in how you choose to handle it.
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) plans to extend the Florida Turnpike from its current terminus at Interstate 75 in Wildwood and has proposed four different corridors. Two of those corridors would affect Citrus County. According to FDOT, this extension is a needed change to alleviate traffic.
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The proposed northern turnpike connector and change it may bring has gotten the attention of many outside groups and residents from surrounding counties at Citrus County BOCC meetings. Those carrying “no build” signs fear the road will be too close to their home and destroy sensitive environmental areas. These are not unlike the concerns many had when the overpass was built near Sugarmill Woods. But today you drive by the overpass with little a thought to it. The idea of change you see many times is scarier than the change itself.
A Citrus local, Art Jones, who has been instrumental in cleaning and restoring our county’s springs says if Citrus County works with FDOT, the extension would alleviate congestion on both Interstate 4 and I-75 and also add another hurricane evacuation route. Jones and other Citrus residents recognize that this project does not have to be environmentally destructive.
We are at the stage of this change where we can have some input into the choice that FDOT will inevitably make. If we refuse to accept that there is a need to alleviate the traffic, we will not have the opportunity to take part in this important decision making process. This is a problem that we cannot simply pave our way out of.