Gov. Rick Scott, state officials hold Wekiva Parkway kick-off event

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - As work continues on the first two sections of the Wekiva Parkway Gov. Rick Scott led county and state officials in an official kick-off event for the new toll road Wednesday.

The $1.7-billion project will continue State Road 429 to the northeast and link it with I-4 near Sanford, completing the Beltway loop around the Orlando-metro area. The Florida Department of Transportation will pay for half of the project, while the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority will pay for the rest, building the sections of the roadway through Orange County.

FDOT has already begun construction on two sections of the parkway in Seminole County. Each section will take several years to complete, with a projected final completion date of 2021.

A large portion of the expressway weaves through the Wekiva River Basin, which is a state-protected land area. As a result, the state must make adjustments to the road's design to ensure the well-being of the area's ecosystem. One example is the parkway's elevated design, which will help minimize impacts to wildlife in the area.

Gov. Rick Scott said planners have done a great job mixing progress and preservation with the project.

"I'm really appreciative of what everybody did here to make sure this was preservation and progress," said Scott.

The Wevika Parkway will be tolled and state officials say it'll cost about $.15 per mile, which is comparable to other expressways in the area.

Copyright 2013 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.