WINTER GARDEN As it stands, the junction of Windermere Road with Stoneybrook West Parkway and Roberson Road has one lane of traffic entering and exiting the intersection in each of four directions.
The Winter Garden side – Stoneybrook West Parkway – expands to two lanes in both directions a few hundred feet from the intersection, and with a large amount of unused right-of-way at the intersection on that side, Winter Garden has room to construct much-needed improvements.
Just ask parents and students driving south on Windermere Road after classes end at West Orange High.
Based on discussions city personnel have had with Orange County staff, those two parties might be close to an agreement that would initiate construction, which county traffic and transportation officials have been examining for turn lanes since 2012 or earlier.
Winter Garden City Manager Mike Bollhoefer said a meeting is scheduled for Jan. 27, when more details could be hashed out.
But as of now, the big idea seems to be county funds contributing to Winter Garden crews installing a roundabout, Orange County Public Works Deputy Director Joe Kunkel said.
“For however long it's been that the project has been discussed, the county had done preparation with a project for turn lanes,” Kunkel said. “We had this big meeting … with the residents, I think at Windermere Elementary School. There was a lot of desire for a roundabout (at that meeting).”
County and Winter Garden personnel have been exchanging iterations for this project for a long time, including one Winter Garden proposal to contribute money for the county to take over the project, Kunkel said.
But most recently, Winter Garden officials have expressed interest in pursuing their roundabout project, he said.
“Our discussion was that if the city and a lot of the citizens that were out there were people in the city of Winter Garden, they seemed to be desiring to have the roundabout go in,” Kunkel said. “So instead of us spending a chunk of money to have an intersection improvement … we had some discussions with the city, and it seems they are amiable to get the funding of the county and build a roundabout.”
An exact amount of money the county would contribute is not set in stone, but it would be hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to county staff.
The exact ramifications and distances of right-of-way affected by this project is another uncertainty, Kunkel said. But he estimated 600 to 700 feet past the intersection would be affected on each side.
“We had always talked about 600 to 700 feet of each leg of the roundabout would go along with the project, and then the right-of-way would be turned over to city of Winter Garden,” Kunkel said. “There may be other annexes in the mix I'm unaware of, such as individual property owners. But that's a whole separate issue.”
Contact Zak Kerr at [email protected].