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I-4, SunRail need billions of dollars for Orlando transportation projects in the works

As Florida gears up for a monumental expansion of its transportation network, the Florida
Department of Transportation (FDOT) is set to launch a comprehensive $2.4 billion project aimed at alleviating traffic congestion and boosting connectivity. The ambitious initiative will extend over 14.7 miles, widening the current six-lane stretch to a more spacious 10 lanes, including the addition of four express lanes. This massive project will stretch from west of U.S. 27 in Polk County to east of State Road 536 in Orange County, significantly enhancing the roadway infrastructure through the introduction of the Poinciana Parkway Connector—a pivotal 2.6-mile roadway designed to link I-4 with SR 429/Western Beltway and the existing SR 538/Poinciana Parkway.

This development is part of the larger “Moving Florida Forward” program, through which the state government has funneled significant funds to kickstart the initial phases later this year. With current traffic volumes exceeding 200,000 vehicles per day—a number projected to swell to 250,000 by 2050—the urgency for this expansion cannot be overstated.

The project, dubbed “I-4 Beyond the Ultimate,” follows the completion of the 21-mile, $2.4billion I-4 Ultimate project. FDOT is not stopping there; plans are in place to extend the development by an additional 20 miles both to the east and west of the Ultimate project’s terminus. Notably, upgraded interchanges at Daryl Carter Parkway and Sand Lake Road are already under construction, aimed at enhancing the connectivity of I-4 with these crucial arteries. These projects, costing $83.1 million and $219.3 million respectively, are set for completion in the mid-2020s.

On the public transit front, a significant leap forward is the planned Sunshine Corridor—a joint venture between Brightline, an intercity passenger train service, and Orlando’s SunRail commuter train. This corridor aims to seamlessly connect SunRail with key destinations, including the Orlando International Airport, Orange County Convention Center, and South International Drive near Walt Disney World, with initial cost estimates hovering around $2 billion. Additionally, the Lake Orange Expressway, a forthcoming 4.4-mile route, promises not just improved transit but also a greener approach. This route will feature a segment equipped with wireless charging for electric vehicles, developed in collaboration with Utah State University’s ASPIRE Institute. In addition to its innovative tech, the expressway will include environmental safeguards like solar arrays and wildlife corridors.

Lake County Commissioner Sean Parks highlighted the significant economic benefits of these projects, citing an expected creation of 25,000 direct and indirect jobs and a $7 billion boost in economic impact, particularly through the development of the 15,000-acre Wellness Way area in South Lake County.  As these projects unfold, they represent not just a considerable financial investment but also a visionary step towards reshaping Florida’s infrastructure to meet future demands and sustainability goals, thereby paving the way for a more connected and economically robust Florida.

Source By Ryan Lynch – Staff Writer

Summary By Principal Broker Rodrigo Schiavo


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