Presently, there are few options to reach Lake County from West Orange, the most accessible of which is State Road 50.
But with the continual growth in West Orange, Lake County and Clermont, it is expected the roadway will be unable to adequately support future traffic demands.
In anticipation of this, the Central Florida Expressway Authority has been conducting studies to create another east-west connector roadway.
CFX held its first public informational meeting regarding the Lake/Orange county connector Thursday, Aug. 30, at the Clermont Arts and Recreation Center.
“With all the growth going on in southwest Orange County, Lake County and the Clermont area, it’s not particularly easy to get back and forth between the two,” said Kathy Putnam, public involvement coordinator for the project study. “So this study is looking at whether a limited-access road between U.S. 27 on the west and State Road 429 in the east is viable and fundable. And we’re currently trying to determine if we can find a preferred alignment.”
In Orange County, the study area falls within the town center and Village H (Hickory Nut) of the Horizon West community. In Lake County, the study area falls within the Wellness Way area. The goal is to analyze which of the 18 potential alignments identified are the most feasible and narrow down the number of corridors being considered, Putnam said.
“They’ve identified 18 separate alignment portions that go from west to east … and they’ll study those corridors to determine the potential impact on the area,” Putnam said. “We’ll need to find out how many land parcels are going to be affected; if there are any environmental concerns we need to watch; and if there are any known future plans or developments we need to steer clear of. We also need to determine which potential corridors might get the most traffic and, of course, how much it would all cost to build.”
The proposed connector project is currently in the Project Development and Environmental Study phase of the process. At the end of the study, the CFX board will make a determination on whether to move forward or place the project on hold.
“At the end of this study, the preferred alignment goes to the CFX board,” Putnam said. “And the board can either approve the preferred alignment and move forward to the design phase of the project, or they can say they don’t think it’s viable or fundable and they don’t think it’s yet ready to move forward, and they’ll just set it on the shelf.”
The next public informational meeting will be held January 2019. Then, officials will determine the final preferred alignment. A public hearing will be held in June.
To see a project fact sheet, visit bit.ly/2wDccgE. For more information, contact the Central Florida Expressway Authority at (407) 802-3210 or via email at [email protected].