Section of Wekiva Parkway opens Thursday

The first five miles of the Wekiva Parkway — which extends State Road 429 — will open on Thursday.

The toll road extends the expressway from where State Road 429 currently ends at Connector Road near 441 to a new interchange at Kelly Park Road.  The stretch of roadway includes bridges at Southfork Drive, Yothers Road, Ponkan Road and other locations.  It runs parallel to Plymouth Sorrento Road. 

“The five miles will me a tremendous relief to local roads,” said Central Florida Expressway Authority spokeswoman Mary Brooks.   “Right now for example on Plymouth Sorrento Road in the morning, evenings, things can back up a mile or two as far as traffic.”

Eventually, the Wekiva Parkway will connect thousands of drivers each day to State Road 46, completing a beltway around Central Florida.  Another five-mile section of the road is expected to open next year.

Brooks said the Central Florida Expressway Authority expects more than 6,000 drivers to travel on the road per day by the end of the year and more than 20,000 vehicles to use the Wekiva Parkway each day by 2037. 

“It’s going to be game-changing. I don’t think you can stress enough how impactful roadway expansions are,” said Lake County Economic Development Director Robert Chandler.

Lake County has already laid the ground work for the Wolf Branch Innovation District, a 1,300 acre hub for business, near the spot will eventually connect the Parkway with State Road 46.