Traffic improvements possibly coming to Wekiwa Springs State Park

$1 million for renovations part of state's final budget

By Amanda Castro - Reporter/Anchor

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Residents and commuters along Wekiva Springs Road near the state park could soon see some relief from the traffic that builds up in the area.

Wekiva Springs State Park is a popular destination for residents and visitors. Some parkgoers said it can take a long time to get into the park.

"One time I was here and we had to wait two hours to get in. It was bad," one parkgoer said. 

The park can close early on the weekends and holidays when it reaches capacity. Officials told News 6 that's when a long line of vehicles parks along the side of Wekiva Springs Road while their occupants wait to get in.

The traffic backs up past the short turn lane into the park. That can cause congestion nightmares for people who live in the area, like Anne Hendershot.

"The worst thing is the danger of cars trying to pass because they get frustrated and not getting to an appointment because it goes on and on and on," Hendershot said. 

Christine Moore is the new Orange County commissioner who represents the area. She said this has been a problem for years.

"The local residents have been complaining because they can't get through the road. The park people can't get in because there's only one turnstile here, one lane to pay for your tickets," Moore said. "This has actually been a pretty serious problem for at least five or six years."

Moore took these concerns to Tallahassee. During this year's legislative session, she worked with state Sen. David Simmons, who sponsored a bill calling for $1 million to renovate the road and entrance to the park to accommodate more cars.

Moore said the state park service would decide how to spend the money on the renovations. She said ideas include adding lanes into the park with more ticket booths, extending the turn lane into the park and possibly using an online reservation system. 

The bill is in the final budget to be sent to Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has until June 30 to sign it into law.

Moore added that anything to help alleviate congestion will get results. 

"If we live in this region, we should have an expectation to be able to get out of our neighborhoods and come home without sitting in traffic for 45 minutes," Moore said. 

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