Governor approves $1 million to improve Wekiwa Springs State Park entrance

Park plans to extend turn lane, possibly add entrance lane

By Amanda Castro - Reporter/Anchor

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - The entrance to Wekiwa Springs State Park will get much-needed renovations after the governor approved state funds for improving traffic problems in the area. 

It's a common sight to see cars lining up and on Wekiva Springs Road, especially during the peak summer months. Many parkgoers wait hours to get into the park.

Maryann Baker lives in a neighborhood close by the park.

"There's cars turning around, everybody is beeping and fighting with one another and it's just a really, really serious situation," Baker said. 

Baker said one time she got stuck in traffic waiting in traffic for 45 minutes on her way home.

But she's hoping that will be a problem of the past, now that Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the state's budget into law. According to his budget, he's allocating $1 million in state funds to renovate the road and the park's entrance.

Orange County Commissioner Christine Moore led the efforts and worked with State Sen. David Simmons to get the funds. 

"We're just so pleased and proud and grateful to have this money," Moore said.

She credits News 6 for helping them get results.

[RELATED: Traffic improvements possibly coming to Wekiwa Springs State Park]

"I knew when she [Moore] talked to me about it that we would put it in and thanks to the governor for approving the legislation," Simmons said. 

Park manager Robert Brooks said the entrance to the park hasn't changed since 1969. He adds visitation has grown in recent years due to growth in Orange and Seminole counties.

Right now, there are only two lanes in and out of the park. Brooks adds the turn lane to get into the park isn't long enough, so that causes the backup.

"It's only 13 cars long, so once you get more than 13 cars in, it blocks both lanes, so we're looking to widen the road, extend the turn lane so it can give people the chance to pull over to the side of the road and allow traffic through," Brooks said. 

Other renovation ideas include adding another lane to get into the park and possibly installing a traffic light. 

Residents who live nearby are still calling for more patrols in the area, especially after the park closes when it reaches capacity. But they said they're excited for the long-term plan to fix this longtime problem.

"We're hoping in the next couple of years that we will see people happy and getting in and out of this park without any harm," Moore said.

State park officials are working on the final park renovations plans. There is no word on when construction could start. 

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