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Southwest Orange Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016 6 years ago

County clears path for greener roadways

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Orange County will spend $9.2 million to add trees to road medians through six years. About one-third of affected roadway is in West Orange County.
by: Zak Kerr Staff Writer/Reporter

ORANGE COUNTY  You had better like trees in your medians, because you’re about to get a lot of them.

At its Jan. 5 meeting, the Board of County Commissioners approved $9,215,309 for tree landscaping on 92.3 miles of Orange County roads, $3,055,502 of which will go to 30.6 miles of West Orange County streets.

“I was going to do this with some of the district funds to try to promote this a year or so ago,” District 1 Commissioner S. Scott Boyd said.

Through Public Works, this program will affect 19.1 miles of Dr. Phillips roads, 7.5 miles of roadway in the vicinity of Ocoee and four miles of Horizon West streets.

Jennifer Cummings, Orange County environmental program supervisor, presented the median landscaping program to the Board of County Commissioners.

Fifteen local roads are part of this tree median project.

“Our goal is to landscape 92 miles of roadway median over the next six years,” Cummings said. “We’ve worked with a landscape architect to … ensure that the trees selected will be suitable for the medians.”

These trees, including species such as eagleston holly, southern magnolia, bald cypress, ligustrum tree, fringe tree, crape myrtle, pygmy date palm, sylvester date palm and cabbage palm, will meet safety standards, Cummings said.

Estimates per mile of roadway are $15,000 for design and $85,000 for installation, with some minor variances, she said.

“In the first year we have Apopka-Vineland Road,” Cummings said. “We’re currently working to contract and install and establish the trees over a 24-month period.”

Boyd had asked whether more funds — particularly from Mayor Teresa Jacobs’ INVEST program — could go toward this project for even more roads and get more homeowners associations on board. County Administrator Ajit Lalchandani said that would be possible but unlikely.

“I appreciate what (staff) has done in putting this together,” Boyd said. “We’ve come a long way from where we were about three years ago. I think it’s a great program.”

This program will incorporate new roadways, Lalchandani said.

 

Contact Zak Kerr at [email protected].

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