|Limits:||from the Highlands/DeSoto County Line to Jefferson Avenue|
|Start of Current Phase:||Early 2023|
|Est. Completion of Current Phase:||Late 2025|
The SR 70 Project Development and Environment Study will evaluate widening SR 70 from the Highlands/DeSoto County Line to Jefferson Avenue 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 10.2 miles in length.
Public involvement is an integral part of the SR 70 Project Development and Environment (PD&E) study. FDOT will use various activities to engage interested parties in the study process and there will be a number of opportunities for public comment, including an alternatives public information meeting and a public hearing. Remember that you may also submit comments or questions about this project at any time during the study, by using the Send a comment button.
FDOT will hold meetings with agencies and stakeholders as needed throughout the study. These meetings will assist the study team with identifying issues, opportunities, and potential transportation solutions for the corridor. Throughout the study process, FDOT will provide presentations to various organizations; interested citizens may request a presentation to their group or organization by using the Send a comment button.
If you are interested in being added to the mailing list to receive study information, please use the “Send a Comment” button to provide your information to the project team.
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.
Alternatives Public Meeting
Combining the public input with the needs of the corridor, several improvement alternatives are developed and evaluated along with the “No-Build” alternative during the PD&E Study. This meeting presents the environmental and social impacts as well as estimated costs of the viable ‘Build’ alternatives as compared to the ‘No-Build’ alternative. The public is provided with an opportunity to view and comment on the alternatives under consideration.
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.