408 extension - CFX route

What is going on with the 408 Extension?

My disclaimer:  I am bringing this information to you from a purely objective point of view and do not have a bias.

Most everyone that is following the road situation in East Orange County has heard of the 408 extension.  Here is the latest information.

Let’s start with who is involved.  There are three different agencies involved in the 408 extension.

  • FDOT (Florida Department of Transportation) because Highway 50 is a state road.
  • Turnpike because one route being considered is along Hwy 50 and the Turnpike must build this  because Highway 50 is a state road
  • CFX (Central Florida Expressway) because an alternate route may be considered that does not run along Hwy 50.

FDOT and the Turnpike:

The state, FDOT, is in a design phase to evaluate building a Turnpike that is now being called the “Colonial Parkway” which runs along Hwy 50.  Recent information that just came out says that the Turnpike may have to elevate the entire road above Hwy 50 all the way from the end of the 408 to 520.  This is very significant as the cost will be astronomical.  Estimates based on similar construction in Tampa would be around 1 billion.  That is a lot of money.  There is no funding at this time for construction, only PD&E (Project Development and Environment) so who knows when and if this construction would happen.  That is two strikes against the roadway going alone this route.  Cost and the Priority on the priority list for state roads.  You can read what I know about this in one of my earlier blogs.  I do not have an update from the state at this time but I can tell you the state is using the design created by CFX as a starting point.

CFX Alternative Routes:

It looks like the dust has settled on one route out of the many studied.  See my earlier blog to see the alternatives proposed.  Below is a map I created showing the preferred route.  Click on the link to see the full size image.

408 extension - CFX route

408 extension – CFX route

My disclaimer:   I am bringing this information to you from a purely objective point of view and do not have a bias.

Here are some reasons why this route was chosen above others:

  • It is the least intrusive to businesses and homes.
  • It is the least intrusive to the environment.
  • It crosses the Econ at a former crossing.
  • It does not split the community of Bithlo.

The path starts at the end of the 408 and travels just south of Hwy 50.  There is an intersection at Avalon Park Blvd.  This will provide tremendous relief to Hwy 50 by diverting commuters going downtown onto the 408 extension instead of 50.  The extension then crosses the Econ at the old crossing.  If the road is to cross the Econ this is the best place to do it because of the existing crossing as well as the shorter flood plain expanse.  Just after crossing the Econ there is an intersection that will service Chuluota Road and allow people from that area as well as Seminole County to get on the 408 instead of using Hwy 50.  The road travels south-east and skirts the Econ River and then turns straight east and meets Hwy 50 just above the race track.  The reason for going above the race track and not below is to avoid environmentally sensitive areas.  Although there is some impact to wetlands, the impact going any farther south would severely impact the wetlands.

My disclaimer:   I am bringing this information to you from a purely objective point of view and do not have a bias.

 

Before this route was established the common thought was putting the expressway along Hwy 50 was the best route.  I think that thought has changed recently.  My sense is that this route is now the preferred route.  The biggest factor is cost.  This route costs about 300 million vs 1 billion if the Turnpike goes along Hwy 50 and forced to elevate the roadway.  In addition to this, the state does not have funding for this road while I am told CFX is ready to move forward.  The difference in cost is huge.

There is also a thought that putting the extension along Hwy 50 is just too much of an impact and crossing both Hwy 50 and the 408 by foot or bike will be a challenge.  It will also split Bithlo in two which is also a concern  that has been raised.

We will just have to wait and see how all this unfolds and I will be there to keep you updated.

Below are pictures I took at the last community meeting showing the path.

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Posted in McCulloch Road.