Opened to traffic in the early 1980s, Florida 681 (Venice Connector) provides a direct link between Interstate 75 south and U.S. 41 (Tamiami Trail) near Laurel and Osprey in central Sarasota County.

Originally designed and designated as a high speed limited-access expressway, the 4.14-mile Venice Connector was downgraded with the inclusion of an at-grade intersection (Honore Avenue) in 2011 near its merge with I-75 north. A second at-grade intersection is in its final stages at En Theos Lane, entrance to the Bellacina by Casey Key subdivision. This is all in part to spur growth around the surrounding area.

Additional plans call for one final at-grade intersection at an unspecified location and median openings along the road. Long term plans also indicate an eventual connection between SR 681 north and I-75 south.


Florida 681 south
Leaving a wye interchange with Interstate 75 south, Florida 681 south begins its run to U.S. 41 near Nokomis. Speed limits vary from 60 to 55 mph along the 4.1-mile course. Photo taken 10/15/16.
The first confirming marker for SR 681 precedes the signalized intersection with Honore Avenue. Trailblazer markers for U.S. 41 (Tamiami Trail) are also posted along the entire stretch. Photo taken 10/15/16.
Extended by March 2011 from Central Sarasota Parkway, Honore Avenue meets SR 681 at a signalized intersection. A second extension opened spring 2016 linking SR 681 with Laurel and Pinebrook Roads further south.1 Honore Avenue provides a third north-south option between Venice and Sarasota, in addition to I-75 and U.S. 41. Photo taken 10/15/16.
Drivers pass by a second set of markers as SR 681 continues southerly beyond Honore Avenue. Tracts of land remain undeveloped along this section of the state road. Photo taken 10/15/16.
Both Osprey and Venice lie six miles ahead along the U.S. 41 (Tamiami Trail) corridor. State Road 681 abuts Oscar Scherer State Park from this point to the Legacy Trail overpass. Photo taken 10/15/16.
Speeds reduce as SR 681 prepares to cross over Legacy Trail. Legacy Trail was converted from part of an abandoned CSX rail corridor between south Sarasota and Venice in fall 2011, stretching 10.6 miles from near Florida 72 (Clark Road) to Venice Avenue. Photo taken 10/15/16.
State Road 681 kinks south on the one mile approach to U.S. 41 (Tamiami Trail). The state road and U.S. highway meet at an interchange 0.7 miles north of Laurel Road. Photo taken 10/15/16.
Oscar Scherer State Park is accessible via U.S. 41 north and offers amenities such as canoing, camping, fishing, and hiking. Otherwise, travelers along SR 681 south next approach En Theos Lane. Photo taken 10/15/16.
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A set of flashers operate along State Road 681 at En Theos Lane one half mile out from U.S. 41. En Theos Lane provides an entrance into the Bellacina by Casey Key subdivision. Photos taken 10/15/16.
The Venice Historic District lies to the west of U.S. 41 Business (Tamiami Trail) and includes most of Downtown Venice. Interests to Laurel and Nokomis are advised to stay left on the approach to the U.S. 41 interchange. Photo taken 10/15/16.
A single lane ramp leaves for U.S. 41 (Tamiami Trail) north to Osprey and the greater Sarasota-Bradenton area. Photo taken 10/15/16.
SR 681 south spans the U.S. 41 mainline and merges with the six-lane arterial ahead of Roberts Road in unincorporated Laurel. Photo taken 10/15/16.
U.S. 41 (Tamiami Trail) continues south through Laurel and Nokomis before reaching the limits of Venice. Photo taken 10/15/16.
Florida 681 scenes
Northbound motorists along Honore Avenue reach the at-grade intersection with Florida 681 just west of its wye interchange with Interstate 75. SR 681 north carries drivers bound for I-75 north directly to the freeway while SR 681 south leads to nearby U.S. 41. Honore Avenue continues ahead for the Palmer Ranch development and eastern Sarasota. Photo taken 09/05/16.
Beyond Roberts Road, U.S. 41 (Tamiami Trail) north quickly approaches the interchange with Florida 681 north. The state road provides direct access to I-75 north to the Tampa area. Photo taken 10/16/16.
Traffic departs for SR 681 along two lanes as U.S. 41 continues north to Osprey and Sarasota. Photo taken 10/16/16.
SR 681 south spans the U.S. 41 mainline as an at-grade ramp connects U.S. 41 south with State Road 681 north. Photo taken 10/16/16.
Florida 681 Archive
Florida 681 south
Former scene near the beginning of SR 681 south on the final approach to Honore Avenue north. A signal was added to the intersection when Honore Avenue was extended southward toward Venice. Photo taken 11/27/14.
Historical perspective of the intersection with Honore Avenue before its southern extension to Laurel Road in spring 2016. Photo taken 11/27/14.
This guide sign was replaced sometime after November 2014 to reflect destination inclusions (Venice Historic District) and lane additions. Photo taken 11/27/14.

Sources:

  1. "Honore Avenue extension to provide I-75 alternative", mysuncoast.com (TV-News)


Photo Credits:

11/27/14, 09/05/16, 10/15/16, 10/16/16 by AARoads

Connect with:
Interstate 75
U.S. 41

Page Updated 10-30-2016.