As of December 2017, the state road (SR 200) providing access to Ocala Ranch is a two-lane highway. However, years ago, the State of Florida purchased land from property owners (including the Seldin family, the owner of Ocala Ranch) to increase the road capacity to four lanes.
In creating the plans for Ocala Ranch, we consulted with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to understand their expansion timeline for SR 200 and were informed each community offers their own prioritization list to the state. In this community, the Ocala/Marion County Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) controls the master list, and the SR 200 widening is on it. Only the TPO, not Ocala Ranch, can recommend to FDOT the priority for the SR 200 widening.
We understand the traffic concerns in the area, so we asked experts in that field to analyze the situation. After traffic studies by multiple experts, we have been assured that even after 20 years of build out, the Ocala Ranch will never reach an occupancy level that will exceed the capacity created by a four-lane highway.
We are also aware of concerns over traffic around the bridge over the Withlacoochee River, a few miles away from the entrance to Ocala Ranch. However, that bridge is in Citrus County, out of the Ocala/Marion County TPO jurisdiction. Conversations and concerns about the bridge are matters for the Hernando/Citrus Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). We do not control the MPO, either, much less FDOT, and it is unclear at present what their plans are for the bridge when SR200 is expanded to four lanes. Regardless, we would support local efforts to improve the bridge and related traffic issues.
A mixed-use community with multiple amenities like Ocala Ranch, provides residents many of the services they need right in the community where they live, thus reducing traffic impact even further.
Ocala Ranch is good for the Marion County community and may provide an incentive for the TPO to give the widening of SR 200 a higher priority. Even after years of construction and the addition of new residents to the community, a four-laned SR 200 will provide ample road capacity for the area.