Here is what I know about the roads.
Let’s start with the project at Lake Pickett called “The Grow” which is the transmittal phase now and due to come up for an approval hearing soon.
“The Grow” is contributing 28 million in impact fees and proportional share money that will be allocated like this. 16 million will be used to advance the widening of Hwy 50 from the Econ bridge to 419. This widening is on the FDOT long range plan but is currently unfunded. When it does become funded and the money is allocated, the state will send the money back to Orange County, not “The Grow” to be used somewhere on Orange County roads. The other 12 million will be used to widen 419 from Hwy 50 to Lake Pickett Road. This is the contribution from “The Grow” to the road issues we have in East Orange County.
What about the other county roads?
As you may know the mayor secured 300 million in bond money for Infrastructure that is under a name “INVEST in Our Home for Life” but is just called “Invest”. 200 million of this is allocated to the roadway system while the other 100 million to other infrastructure needs such as 15 million for bike and pedestrian improvements and other multi-modal transit projects. 28 million has been designated to be used in East Orange County. Orange County is planning on widening McCulloch to 4-lanes from N. Tanner Road to Lockwood Blvd. This will take a portion of the “Invest” money allocated to East Orange County. The county does not currently have plans for the remainder of the funding until a traffic study is completed which is either underway now or will be underway soon. The study is being paid for with “Invest” money. We will not know where this money will be used or how until this study is complete.
Everything is on the table and is being considered in this traffic study but nothing is decided which includes the following:
- A bridge over the Econ at McCulloch. Notice I did not say to 419 but is certainly being considered
- Widening Lake Pickett to 4 -lanes
- A road from Lake Pickett to Woodbury
- Widening Lake Pickett from Percival to Hwy 50
- The Richard Crotty Parkway
- Anything else that is discovered
Let’s dispel some myths that I have heard people say are definite. Nothing is cast is stone such as:
- Widening Lake Pickett from Percival to Hwy 50 is not cast in stone
- A road from Lake Pickett to Woodbury is not cast in stone
- A bridge over the Econ at McCulloch is not cast in stone
Let’s not forget the extension of the 408. The second project group meeting is coming up and I will have an update in 2-3 weeks.
I have also heard that MetroPlan is performing a traffic study of the entire region which is a separate study from the one Orange County is performing so it will be interesting to see how that turns out. Keep in mind these studies take time. Many months in fact so be very patient.
It is great to see this focus and attention to our area and plans coming together to fix these roads. But we still have a long way to go.
For example, the Richard Crotty Parkway, the red line on the map. I cannot imagine the traffic studies not showing this road as a vital part of the roadway system. We need another east-west road to move traffic. We need connectivity from east-west to really create efficiency in our road system. See a prior post about “Who Lives IN The DMZ Zone” and the second one called, “What is the DMZ Zone“. Watch this video to see the DMZ Zone and connectivity. I cannot imagine a bridge over the Econ at McCulloch unless the Richard Crotty Parkway is part of this study. What that would do is have three east-west roads in the Rural Service Area crossing the Econ funneling down to two inside the Urban Service Area. That would make no sense at all. But Research Park is not too excited about the Richard Crotty Parkway and UCF is silent and neutral.
Also, Seminole County is not to thrilled with widening McCulloch or crossing the Econ at McCulloch so we will have to see how that plays out.
Let’s also not forget Lake Pickett North which was called “Sustany”. I have heard this is coming back most likely in the the 2016 second cycle so we will have to see what that project looks like and how this will impact traffic. The 2016 second cycle is from about September, 2016 to March, 2017 so the application will be submitted and you can expect community meetings a couple of months before September/October time frame.
But I am encouraged that we are moving in the right direction. I have to admit I was somewhat dejected a while ago until I talked to some people recently and learned much of what I am relaying on to you. In the world of Infrastructure wheels turn very slow and patience is all important. All we can do is keep moving and keep coming up with ideas on how to keep this issue at the forefront in the minds of our elected officials to ensure we get the attention we deserve.