- December 20, 2017
County officials hosted a community meeting Sept. 12 to discuss the results of a Roadway Conceptual Analysis Study to widen a .43-mile stretch of Avalon Road from two to four lanes.
The RCA study encompasses a portion of Avalon Road — also known as County Road 545 — from the Florida Turnpike exit to West Colonial Drive. The purpose of the study was to assess roadway improvements that could meet current and future travel demands for this portion of Avalon. The study evaluated potential engineering options to address current and future travel needs. The study considered environment and social impacts and other design features such as drainage and lighting.
“Traffic backs up significantly on this road right now, so we need to look at it,” District 1 Orange County Commissioner Betsy VanderLey said. “We have some ideas on how we should address it, but we’re a long way from actually breaking ground and going under construction and all of that.”
Project Manager Blanche Hardy, of the Orange County Transportation and Planning Division, said this stretch of Avalon Road generates an average of 15,000 vehicular trips per day and is expected to generate 32,320 to 33,050 vehicular trip per day by 2045.
“If we do nothing, we will see … the roadway ... fail,” Hardy said.
Hardy discussed four different alternative road design options for Avalon Road: East, West, Center and Centered/Hybrid alignment. The options differ in terms of which side of the roadway the majority of right-of-way is acquired. The east, west and center alignment options would impact the most homes and cost the most. Estimated costs for each design are $4.8 million for the west alignment, $4.745 million for the east alignment and $4.7 million for the center alignment.
The design that would impact the least amount of homes is the Centered/Hybrid alignment design, which is the county’s preferred alternative. The design is also the least expensive at an estimated cost of $4.6 million. The design acquires equal right-of-way from both the east and west sides of the roadway, Hardy said.
“By doing the hybrid alignment, we’ve minimized what we would need to do that would impact yards,” she said.
The Centered/Hybrid design includes four 12-foot travel lanes, a 5-foot sidewalk on the east side of the roadway, a 10-foot multi-purpose path on the west side of the roadway, curb and gutter and a 22-foot raised median. Additionally, recommended improvements to the Avalon Road/West Colonial Drive intersection are westbound left-turn lanes, dual northbound right- and left-turn lanes and traffic signal modifications, according to the study.
VanderLey emphasized the RCA is simply a study that assesses options on how to address the mobility needs of Avalon Road.
“This is a study,” VanderLey said “There’s nothing funded. There’s nothing defined yet. We’re looking at the capacity that we’re seeing on (County Road) 545 … and we’re trying to decide how we best respond to that so that everybody has the (ability) to travel those roads as easy as possibly.”
Kodi Terry, president of the homeowners association for the Johns Lake Pointe community, said although the proposed improvements in the study sound like a great idea, she is concerned over the timing and lack of funding.