“The River and The Road” is a book about the people, planning, and pride behind the Wekiva Parkway, the last 25 miles of the 125-mile Central Florida beltway, which supports the movement of 2.75 million residents and 75 million visitors annually.

Learn more and be inspired by the story of “The River and The Road” – available digitally by clicking below:
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For more information, contact info@cfxway.com.

Why is a 25-mile toll road worthy of a coffee table book? “The River and The Road” is a story rarely told about how the unlikeliest of allies put the common good above competing interests to complete the regional beltway through a vast and fragile ecosystem that is home to a treasured river, abundant wildlife, and acts as a major water recharge area for Central Florida.

Located northwest of downtown Orlando, the $1.6 billion Wekiva Parkway was seven decades in the making as the last, most complicated, and expensive link of the beltway. The expressway project has earned the mutual admiration of worldwide transportation planners, road builders, regional environmentalists, and residents because of a highly sensitive approach to its planning, design, and construction to protect the vital ecosystem.

The book’s main character is the Wekiva River with countless supporting characters including two toll agencies, river protection activists, more than 50,000 residents, and dozens of local and state officials including a Florida Governor and Senate President.

Written by Dan Tracy, a veteran transportation reporter for The Orlando Sentinel, the book artfully communicates through the voices of key people involved in pioneering how expressways can be built with consensus and stewardship of their communities.

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Author Dan Tracy highlights a series of remarkable events that made the Wekiva Parkway possible:

  • A long-ago tweak to public finance rules that made the $1.6 billion undertaking possible
  • The courting of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in the early 2000s to set up the rules and regulating commission that would oversee how and where the road would be built
  • An old, scuffed Louisville Slugger baseball bat wielded by a Florida State Senate president
  • Contacting over 30,000 property owners from 2005 to 2019 and hosting 900 public meetings attracting nearly 20,000 people
  • Setting aside 3,400 acres for conservation
  • Planning for 1.5 miles of wildlife bridges with 7,900 feet of safe passage for animals
  • Creating 10 miles of multi-use trails connecting to a statewide trail system
  • Designing a three-deck, 360-foot bridge over the river without construction or piers touching the water

Wekiva Parkway Awards

  • The International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) 2019 Toll Excellence Award for Social Responsibility
  • The Florida Transportation Builders Association 2019 Best in Construction Award
  • American Council of Engineering Companies of Florida 2019 Grand Engineering Excellence Award
  • Florida Transportation Builders’ Association 2019 Expressway Authority Project of the Year
  • American Council of Engineering Companies of Florida 2023 Outstanding Major Project Award
  • Florida Transportation Builders’ Association 2023 Best in Construction Award
  • ECF 2024 Diamond Award for Conservation and Countryside
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