The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), District One began a Project Development and Environment (PD&E) Study in April 2017 to determine the location and conceptual design of the Old Dixie Trail (ODT). This trail will connect the trailheads of the Auburndale-TECO Trail and the Haines City Trail, for a distance of approximately 12 miles.
The Old Dixie Trail PD&E Study is intended to provide regional connectivity that will offer recreational and economic development benefits. The ODT also offers connections to the Lake Alfred Trail and the Chain of Lakes Trail, as well as other planned future trails.
FDOT will hold meetings with agencies and stakeholders throughout the study. These meetings will assist the project team with identifying issues, opportunities, and potential transportation solutions for the corridor. Throughout the study process, FDOT will provide presentations to various organizations, and interested citizens may also request a presentation to their group or organization.
An important component of the PD&E process is public involvement. This includes coordination with stakeholders. Stakeholders are everyone who may have any interest, directly or indirectly, in the Alternatives Analysis. Stakeholders include all pertinent individuals, governmental agencies and jurisdictions, public and private entities and agencies (civic, social, groups etc.), businesses, and transit agencies.
At the onset of the project the study team identified stakeholders in and adjacent to the study area, including governmental agencies, advocacy groups, businesses, and residential communities, representing a well-diversified group. Initial Stakeholder interviews were held with the City of Auburndale, City of Haines City, City of Winter Haven, Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing/Visit Central Florida, Polk Transportation Planning Organization, Bike Florida, Inc., Florida Trail Association (Heartland Chapter), Winter Haven Airport and The Bike Shop of Winter Haven. The study team will continue to meet with the stakeholders throughout the project to present the study overview, schedule, and study process and progress.
The project activities include data collection, development of trail improvement alignments and evaluation of potential social and environmental impacts in the community.
A Public Hearing is tentatively planned for Mid-2023. *Project schedule is subject to change.