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Turnpike official says Coastal Connector routes under review

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Michael D. Bates

Special to the Messenger

When pressed by Citizens Advisory Committee members about scrapping the controversial Coastal Connector routes, Rebecca Bolan carefully straddled the line.

Bolan, the Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise project manager, didn’t say yes. But she didn’t say no, either.

“These are the (routes) that we have on the table currently,” Bolan said. “That doesn’t mean they will be the ones on the table permanently.”

Bolan was in Brooksville on Wednesday, May 30, to update the three Hernando-Citrus Metropolitan Planning Organization committees on the status of the Coastal Connector.

A few of the Citrus County members on the CAC asked Bolan if FTE will scrap the five proposed connector routes after they were roundly blasted by Citrus and Marion County commissioners and the cities of Ocala and Dunnellon.

Bolan said any change in the proposed routes won’t be known until FTE staff sifts through the public comments and releases a report, probably early next year. It’s still in the study phase, she said.

Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) officials recently unveiled five proposed routes that would all connect the Suncoast Parkway 2 from its soon-to-be terminus in Lecanto with Interstate 75 north of Ocala in Marion County.

At present, the Suncoast 2 is to end at State Road 44 but consideration is being given to extending it to County Road 486.

Contact Chronicle reporter Michael D. Bates at 352-563-5660 or mbates@chronicleonline.com.