CITRUS COUNTY --The Suncoast Parkway expansion project is on hold for now. U.S. District Judge James S. Moody Jr. issued a temporary restraining order stopping construction.
- Judge places temporary hold on project
- Residents feel peace will be disturbed
- Construction halted for two weeks
Construction has been underway on the Suncoast Parkway Extension from U.S. 98 to State Road 44 in Citrus County.
Many people who live in the Sugarmill Woods neighborhood just west of the new path are concerned it will disturb their peaceful area.
"When they're pile driving over there you can feel it," Larry Dewitt said.
"Our area's real quiet here that's why we picked this spot. I know the toll road won't have any exits here but I'm just concerned about the noise," he added.
Others aren't sure how many people would actually use the road.
"Until it terminates somewhere it probably will not get a lot of use...so that's a lot of money for a few people," Ken Rikard explained.
For now, the road's fate is uncertain. It’s planned to go close to the ETNA Turpentine Camp, just above County Road 480 and east of the Sugarmill Woods community.
The current construction has come close to the camp itself.
The area is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Friends of ETNA Turpentine Camp, a group advocating for the area, sued Florida Fish and Wildlife claiming they issued permits without considering the impact of their actions.
The group's attorney, Heidi Mehaffey, Esq. of Robert N. Hartsell, P.A., is quoted in a statement sent to us saying in part:
“We are requesting that the Middle District of Florida issue an immediate injunction to cease all construction activities during the pendency of the lawsuit. We strongly believe that the government must be held accountable for its actions and be compliant with federal laws set in place to ensure that all impacts of major projects are taken into consideration before irreversible destruction takes place.”
And people who live by the road's path hope an exact end point beyond State Road 44 can be established before any more work is done.
"They need to decide where they're going to terminate this thing before they spend a lot more money," Rikard added.
The judge's order, issued on Thursday, stops construction for 14 days. The attorneys for the group that filed the lawsuit tell us a hearing is set for the end of June in Ocala. They say the hold on construction is extended until after that hearing.