Osceola County, Fla. — A controversial plan has been unanimously approved by the Central Florida Expressway Authority to extend Osceola Parkway.
The nine mile extension would connect State Road 417 to new developments with a portion cutting through Split Oak Forest, which houses a variety of endangered species. This would impact 160 out of the 1,700 acre forest, which is home to state protected animals such as sand-hill cranes, gopher tortoises, and even wild turkeys.
However, if the route through the forest would not have been chosen, an alternate route would affect nearly 20 homes just south of Split Oak in the Narcoossee area. Expressway leaders say the toll road is needed to accommodate the next 50 years worth of projected population growth in the area.
Some approvals are still needed at the state level before it goes into effect, but the plan is on its way to commissioners in Orange and Osceola counties for their approval as well.