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West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021 1 month ago

CFX preparing for S.R. 429 widening

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Central Florida Expressway Authority officials hope to begin the State Road 429 widening project from Tilden Road to Florida’s Turnpike later this year.
by: Danielle Hendrix Associate Editor

Drivers on State Road 429 from Tilden Road to Florida’s Turnpike will notice some major construction efforts underway later this year.

Central Florida Expressway Authority is preparing to begin the first phase of its S.R. 429 widening project from Tilden Road to Florida’s Turnpike in late 2021. 

The whole project consists of widening 13 miles of S.R. 429 to six lanes — three in each direction — between Tilden Road and S.R. 414. Also to be added are wider median shoulders, or part-time shoulders, which are used to temporarily accommodate traffic during emergency responses. 

The goal is to improve traffic flow and relieve congestion along the expressway in the West Orange area. The project will be done in three segments — each expected to take two years to complete — to minimize impact to motorists.

CFX officials explained Phase One of the project in more detail during a virtual public meeting Wednesday, Jan. 20. Kathy Putnam, CFX public involvement coordinator, said up to 67,000 vehicles travel this particular stretch of S.R. 429 each day. That number is expected to grow as the area does.

Since there are multiple neighborhoods and noise-sensitive sites such as homes, schools, churches and recreational areas along the project corridor, Putnam said, the project includes 10 proposed sound walls.

“During design, a noise study following state and federal guidelines is conducted to determine noise impacts associated with the expressway widening,” Putnam said. “For these projects, sound walls have been considered for areas predicted to experience noise levels that reach or exceed 66 decibels, or experience an increase of 15 decibels over existing noise levels. 

“Additionally, the sound wall must provide at least a five-decibel reduction to be considered feasible,” Putnam said. “The sound walls lessen the road noise. They do not completely block out the sound.”

As part of the design process, she said, property owners who are identified as benefiting from proposed sound walls are asked to vote on whether they want those sound walls. Ballots for those to be affected in Phase One have already been mailed out.

Currently, there are four proposed sound walls near the Emerald Ridge and Stoneybrook West communities; three sound walls near the Bronson’s Landing and Lake Roberts Landing neighborhoods; and three sound walls by the Westfield Lakes and Windermere Crossing communities.

“The growth in Central Florida — especially in this area — has been very significant, which means we have an equal amount of increase in traffic,” said Will Hawthorne, CFX director of engineering. “Any regular driver of the expressway out here knows what I’m talking about. In the past five years, traffic on the 429 has nearly doubled. … Winter Garden has seen exponential growth lately, which has prompted all of these projects and the new ramps that directly service Stoneybrook Parkway west of (S.R.) 535.”

Hawthorne added that the new lanes to be built as part of the widening project will be constructed toward the current median or inside of S.R. 429, so it will not impact those newly completed ramps.

When construction begins later this year, Hawthorne said, motorists will need to be aware of construction workers, lane and traffic shifts, bridge widening, new signage, new energy-efficient lighting, overnight work and more. Construction is expected to be complete in late 2023.

“There’s going to be a lot going on through this corridor,” he said. “When you think about the magnitude of what has to occur to widen the road like this while keeping the traffic moving, you should expect to see a host of different construction activities.”
For more visuals and information regarding this project, click here.

Danielle Hendrix is the Associate Editor for the West Orange Times & Observer and the Windermere Observer. She is a 2015 graduate of the University of Central Florida, from which she earned a bachelor's degree in journalism with a minor in world comparative studies. ...

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