I-75 Widening From North of Hernando County Line to South of CR 470 – Permitting and Gopher Tortoise Relocation
This is a 13-mile widening roadway project. Thirty-one ponds were proposed for construction; however, WGI’s drainage engineers reduced these ponds significantly by design. By doing this, wetland impacts were decreased and the potential threat to threatened and endangered species was reduced. All permitting for wetlands and threatened and endangered species was conducted by WGI. WGI conducted Gopher Tortoise relocation on the entire 13-mile project and within all ponds.
WGI obtained a US Army Corps of Engineers permit modification and a Southwest Florida Water Management District Environmental Resource Permit modification for the major drainage change. WGI prepared all permit packages on behalf of the Florida Department of Transportation. These permits included major reduction in mitigation costs and Gopher tortoise relocation costs. Over 100 Gopher tortoises were estimated to be within the construction area. After the final design was concluded, 43 Gopher tortoise burrows were excavated, 20 Gopher tortoises were captured, and wetland impacts were reduced by 2.24 acres.