Florida Transportation Agencies Win 2019 Toll Excellence Award for Protection of Wildlife, Natural Resources During Wekiva Parkway Project

12-31-1969

Florida Transportation Agencies Win 2019 Toll Excellence Award for Protection of Wildlife, Natural Resources During Wekiva Parkway Project

Central Florida Expressway Authority, Florida Department of Transportation and Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise Selected for Social Responsibility Award

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) today announced three Florida transportation agencies – Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFX), Florida Department of Transportation – District Five (FDOT), and Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise (FTE) - have been jointly awarded the 2019 Toll Excellence Award for Social Responsibility for their work helping to protect the wildlife and other natural resources surrounding the Wekiva River, a National Wild and Scenic River and Outstanding Florida Waterway, during development of the 25-mile Wekiva Parkway (State Road 429). 

 

The 2019 Toll Excellence Awards will formally be presented during IBTTA's 87th Annual Meeting and Exhibition, September 15-17, 2019 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. One recipient will be honored with the prestigious President’s Award for Excellence during the awards ceremony.

 

“Central Florida Expressway Authority, Florida Department of Transportation – District Five and Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise have been selected for their work together on the development and construction of the $1.6 billion Wekiva Parkway, helping to alleviate congestion, handle increased traffic volumes – while protecting the area’s wildlife and natural resources,” said Patrick Jones, Executive Director and CEO of IBTTA. “Each award winner has taken on a tough transportation challenge and worked with partners to find a practical solution. We’re incredibly proud of the work they’ve done to represent our industry. On behalf of the transportation community, we congratulate these three Florida transportation agencies on this well-deserve recognition.”

 

Laura Kelley, Executive Director, CFX said in response to the award selection, “The Wekiva Parkway has always been about so much more than just finishing Central Florida’s beltway. Everyone from the community, the environmentalists and our regional leaders were adamant that this major transportation initiative had to be done in a way that helped protect the environment. And the thousands of citizens we heard from made it abundantly clear the expressway needed to have that “parkway feel” – to blend in with the rural surroundings. The agency partners were dedicated in making this happen – and this award reinforces that accomplishment.”

 

Kevin J. Thibault, P.E., Secretary of Transportation, FDOT said, “The 13 miles of the parkway available now have truly made an impact on the lives of Central Floridians – whether they’re daily commuters or folks headed to the attractions. When the remaining sections open by the end of 2022, the Wekiva Parkway truly will have become a game-changer for the region – and a model for smart transportation planning through sensitive natural areas everywhere.”

 

As the first all-electronic tolling (AET) corridor in Central Florida, the parkway provides environmental benefits in addition to safety and convenience, noted Paul Wai, Executive Director, Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise. “There are no cash booths to accept tolls, so vehicles do not have to stop and start at tolling points,” he added. “This results in reduced emissions from vehicles and less air pollution as well as less noise in this environmentally sensitive area.”

 

The International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) is the worldwide association for the owners and operators of toll facilities and the businesses that serve tolling. Founded in 1932, IBTTA has members in 23 countries on six continents. Through advocacy, thought leadership and education, members are implementing state-of-the-art, innovative user-based transportation financing solutions to address the critical infrastructure challenges of the 21st Century. For more information, please visit www.ibtta.org or join us on Twitter @IBTTA or #TollRoads.

 

Each year, IBTTA presents the Toll Excellence Awards to highlight the very best projects, innovations and solutions from the international tolling industry. The awards encourage the industry to share and celebrate new ideas and emerging practices in six categories: Administration and Finance; Customer Service and Marketing Outreach; Social Responsibility; Technology; Toll Operations, Engineering and Maintenance; and Private Sector Innovation. 

 

You can view the full list of 2019 winners by visiting this link.

 

For more information about the awards, please contact Bill Cramer, Communications Director, IBTTA, bcramer@ibtta.org; 202.210.2962.

 

 

 

Background on the 2019 Toll Excellence Award for Social Responsibility

 

Central Florida Expressway Authority, Florida Department of Transportation – District Five and Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise Wekiva Parkway (State Road 429) Project

 

With a population of more than 2.5 million and more than 72 million tourists visiting annually, Central Florida needed to complete the 25-mile Wekiva Parkway (State Road 429) to relieve the increasingly congested regional road network. The Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFX) responded by building a $1.6-billion all-electronic tolling project that combines cutting-edge mobility and technology with enhanced environmental and social innovation, helping to protect wildlife and other natural resources surrounding the ecologically significant Wekiva River. In collaboration with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District Five, and Florida's Turnpike Enterprise, the project is guided by the 2004 Wekiva Parkway and Protection Act, which mandated environmental protections previously unseen in Florida. Under that legislation, CFX and FDOT bought 3,400 acres of conservation land that was previously slated for development, built 1.5 miles of wildlife bridges to replace two small tunnels, elevated the parkway to reduce vehicle collisions with wildlife, and limited the number of interchanges in the environmentally sensitive area. The project succeeded in providing a mobility solution with a true “parkway” feel while also helping to protect the environment surrounding the Wekiva River.

 

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The International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) is the worldwide association for the owners and operators of toll facilities and the businesses that serve tolling. Founded in 1932, IBTTA has members in 23 countries on six continents. Through advocacy, thought leadership and education, members are implementing state-of-the-art, innovative user-based transportation financing solutions to address the critical infrastructure challenges of the 21st Century.

 

The Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFX) is an independent, locally controlled toll agency that is responsible for construction, maintenance and operation of a 118-mile limited access expressway system that serves more than 3 million residents and an estimated 72 million annual visitors in Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, and Seminole counties. CFX is committed to operating a world-class mobility network that advances customer-first transportation solutions - most recently introducing E-PASS Xtra, the first Florida-based dual-protocol toll transponder that seamlessly works everywhere E-PASS or E-ZPass is accepted in 18 states.

 

Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise operates 483 miles of beautifully maintained safe toll highways, including the Mainline from Miami to Central Florida, as well as the Homestead Extension, the Sawgrass Expressway, the Seminole Expressway, the Beachline Expressway, the Southern Connector Extension of the Central Florida Greeneway, the Veterans Expressway, the Suncoast Parkway, the Polk Parkway, the Western Beltway, and the I-4 Connector.

 

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT or Department) is an executive agency, which means it reports directly to the Governor. FDOT’s primary statutory responsibility is to coordinate the planning and development of a safe, viable, and balanced state transportation system serving all regions of the state, and to assure the compatibility of all components, including multimodal facilities. A multimodal transportation system combines two or more modes of movement of people or goods. Florida’s transportation system includes roadway, air, rail, sea, spaceports, bus transit, and bicycle and pedestrian facilities.