Orange County officials offer update on Avalon Road
Orange County transportation officials organized a community meeting to present different road-widening options for a 0.43-mile section of Avalon Road.
| 12:39 p.m. April 4, 2018
West Orange Times & Observer
To address future traffic demands from projected growth in West Orange, Orange County and the city of Winter Garden agreed to collaborate on a large-scale road improvement project targeting Avalon Road (County Road 545).
The multi-phase project, which first became a concept in 2007, aims to widen all of Avalon Road from two to four lanes, as well as identify possible drainage, roadway and lighting improvements.
Some major segments of the roadway already have completed the design phase and now are scheduled to begin the construction phase in April 2018 with a targeted completion date of October 2019. Other segments of the roadway are still in discussion or being made possible via a partnership with private developers.
“A lot of the segments come in because the developers come in and then they decide they want to do a mixed-use development somewhere, but to do that, they have to do intersections and they have to widen the road,” said Blanche Hardy, of the county’s Transportation Planning Division. “So in that case, we do a Preliminary Design Study instead of an RCA and we provide impact fee forgiveness and they provide the cash to go ahead and do something that we wouldn’t normally do so quickly. So some are development-driven improvements, but the county still manages the project.”
This latest segment of the arterial thoroughfare to be improved has been targeted for a Roadway Conceptual Analysis Study that began in October 2017 and is anticipated for completion in August 2018.
With the study now nearing 50% completion, the county hosted a community meeting on March 28 to relay the study’s findings and road-improvement recommendations so far.
According to the study, this segment of Avalon Road generates 15,000 to 15,400 vehicles a day and is expected to generate 32,320 to 33,050 vehicles per day by 2045. It currently has no shoulders, bike facilities, lighting, accommodation for left turns or regular transit service, and is expected to fail by 2045 if nothing is done.
To prevent this, Hardy said the study has identified three alternative road design options: East, West and Centered/Hybrid alignment. The three options differ only in terms of which side of the roadway the majority of the right-of-way is acquired.
If the county decides to take the right-of-way solely from the west or east side of the road, the project would impact several homes. But if equal right-of-way is acquired from both the east and west sides of the roadway, the impact to the structures would be kept to a minimum.
For this reason, the Transportation Planning Division recommends the Centered/Hybrid design for the project.
“The reason we’re preferring that alignment is because it adversely impacts the least number of private property owners,” Hardy said. “It’s not our goal to impact someone’s property — it’s our goal to build a more functional road, but sometimes impacts are unavoidable. So we want to minimize them.”
The second community meeting for this project is scheduled for the end of June, with a public hearing before the Orange County Board of County Commissioners anticipated for early September.
Anyone with questions or concerns may contact Blanche Hardy at [email protected] or call (407) 836-0257. To learn more about the project, visit Avalonroadrca2018.com.