State Road 40
This Emerging SIS corridor through the Ocala National Forest has been a topic of discussion for expansion for more than a decade. FDOT completed Phase I of its Environmental Feasibility Study in FY 2005/06. The purpose of this study was to identify the various issues that may arise in the expansion of SR 40. The study encompasses approximately 43.6 miles of roadway from SR 35 in Marion County to US 17 in Volusia County. Several government and private agencies, as well as local citizens, were interviewed as part of the study. The PD&E study for SR 40 kicked off at the end of FY 2005/06 and was wrapped up in FY 2008/09. Ultimately, the results of this study determined the best alternative(s) to providing mobility and safety improvements for SR 40 through the project limits. The Florida Black Bear Scenic Byway includes the stretch of State Road 40 from Ocala to Ormond Beach and SR 19 from Altoona to Palatka, as well as Lake County's CR 445 and 445A, totaling 126 miles across Marion, Lake, Volusia and Putnam counties. October 2009, the roadways were named a National Scenic Byway. The byway already had received a State of Florida Scenic Byway status. The Florida Department of Transportation's Environmental Management Office describes the state's scenic highway program as a grassroots effort to heighten awareness of cultural, historical, archeological, recreational, natural and scenic resources along roads. The program involves formation of private advocacy groups to develop regional plans to showcase and protect community resources, promote tourism and educate the public. An MPO staff member remains an active member and 2012 Chairman of the Corridor Management Entity (CME).