The SR 70 Project Development and Environment (PD&E) Study is evaluating widening SR 70 from CR 29 to Lonesome Island Road in Highlands County from a two-lane undivided facility to a four-lane divided roadway. SR 70 is the primary east-west highway for the Lake Placid/southern Highlands County area, and provides regional access to employment centers, agricultural lands, and residential areas across the state. SR 70 is part of the designated Strategic Intermodal System (SIS) highway network and is a major east-west evacuation route. The project is approximately 4.4 miles in length.
The FDOT invites you to a public hearing for the SR 70 Project Development & Environment (PD&E) Study from CR 29 to Lonesome Island Road in Highlands County on Thursday, September 28, 2023. This study will evaluate the widening of SR 70 from County Road (CR) 29 to Lonesome Island Road to address roadway deficiencies, emergency evacuation, operational conditions, vehicular safety conditions, and economic development. This hearing is being conducted to present the preferred alternative and all analysis to date, as well as to give interested persons an opportunity to express their views concerning the location, conceptual design, and social, economic, and environmental effects of the proposed improvements. You can participate live online or in-person. The information presented during either format will be the same and all attendees will have opportunity to comment.
IN-PERSON OPTION: September 28, 2023 Lake Placid Conference Center 2665 Placid View Drive, Lake Placid, Florida 33852 Anytime between 5 – 6 p.m. Open house 6 p.m. Formal presentation and testimony begins.
LIVE ONLINE OPTION: September 28, 2023 at 5:45 p.m. Register in advance: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/597800506978398549 5:45 p.m.
Overview for how to submit comment 6 p.m. Formal presentation and comment This event will include a livestream of the in-person presentation and a comment portion. Please review the materials on project webpage before attending the virtual event (www.swflroads.com/project/414506-5). Materials will be posted by September 21, 2023. If you are unable to attend the hearing, comments can also be provided through the project webpage (www.swflroads.com/project/414506-5) or by email (David.Turley@dot.state.fl.us) or mail (FDOT District One, Attn: David C. Turley, P.E, 801 N. Broadway Ave., MS 1-40, Bartow, FL 33830).
While comments about the project are accepted at any time, they must be received or postmarked by October 12, 2023, to be included in the formal hearing record. All comments are weighted equally. Questions can be answered by calling the FDOT project manager David C. Turley, P.E at (863) 519-2255. A summary of the hearing will be available on the webpage approximately 30 days following the close of the comment period. Project documents will be available for public viewing from September 7, 2023 to October 12, 2023, at Lake Placid Memorial Library, 205 West Interlake Boulevard, Lake Placid, Florida 33852 and at FDOT District One Headquarters, 801 N. Broadway Avenue, Bartow, FL 33830.
What is a PD&E Study?
A Project Development and Environment (PD&E) Study is a phase of the Florida Department of Transportation's (FDOT) project development process. A PD&E Study assists the FDOT in determining the location, conceptual design and social, economic and environmental effects of proposed roadway and other project improvements. The process follows procedures set forth in the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and federal and state laws and regulations. During the PD&E Study process, feasible alternatives are developed for improvement projects. These ‘Build’ alternatives are evaluated based on environmental, engineering and socioeconomic conditions, safety needs and public input. The need for additional right-of-way for improvements or stormwater will also be evaluated during the PD&E Study phase. The ‘No-Build’ alternative is evaluated throughout the study process. This ‘No-Build’ alternative leaves the existing transportation infrastructure as it is, with only routine maintenance as required for existing facilities. If the study results in a ‘Build’ alternative being selected, the project may proceed to the next phase, which is the design phase. The basic activities of a PD&E Study include:
The first major work effort is the collection of all available data pertaining to the study corridor including existing and planned infrastructure, existing and future land uses, drainage patterns, and environmental resources.
Alternatives Development and Analysis
Once data collection is completed, the Department develops and evaluates various alignment alternatives, including a ‘No-Build’ alternative. The ‘No-Build’ alternative assumes no improvements. The environmental impacts, social impacts and costs of these alternatives are quantified and summarized in an evaluation matrix.
Public Kickoff Newsletter
A public kickoff newsletter is mailed, to introduce the project to the public and provide an opportunity to view and comment on the project’s need and objectives.
After all public comments are reviewed and the analysis of the alternatives has been refined, a formal public hearing is held to provide a forum for input from property owners and interested parties on the final recommendations. A final decision is not made until after the public hearing.
After the comments from the public hearing have been received, considered and addressed, the project reports will be finalized and submitted to the Office of Environmental Management for Location and Design Concept Acceptance. Once acceptance is granted, the PD&E Study phase of the project will be complete. The phases that follow the PD&E Study are design of the project, acquisition of right-of-way, if necessary, and construction of the improvements.