With southwest Orange serving as a hub for tourism and a hotspot for the real-estate market, the Florida Department of Transportation is about to make some big changes to traffic flow in the Dr. Phillips area.
On Wednesday, June 26, FDOT officials hosted an informational open house at the Rosen JCC to familiarize residents with planned improvements to the Daryl Carter Parkway and Sand Lake Road interchanges with Interstate 4.
The Daryl Carter Parkway and I-4 interchange improvement will add three new ramps connecting I-4 to Daryl Carter Parkway — two exit ramps from both directions of I-4 to Daryl Carter Parkway and an eastbound entrance ramp to I-4 from Daryl Carter Parkway. The westbound entrance will be constructed in the future.
The new interchange will be constructed as a diverging-diamond interchange to allow for left turns that don’t cross oncoming traffic. According to FDOT, “the DDI will move almost double the traffic through the intersection in the same time.”
The other project involves improvements to the I-4 and Sand Lake Road interchange. According to FDOT, more than 70,000 vehicles travel through this interchange daily. The improvements will feature a modified version of a DDI — it will include a loop access ramp from westbound Sand Lake Road onto Turkey Lake Road — and drivers no longer will be able to make a left turn at Turkey Lake Road.
“Having been through DDIs in multiple places, the biggest thing they have to do is make sure they have signage well in advance so people are prepared that they have to go on the opposite side of the road,” said Roy Messinger, of the Dr. Phillips Homeowners Coalition. “Second thing they need to do is put ‘I-4 East’ or ‘I-4 West’ on the pavement like they do at the (S.R.) 408 at I-4 (interchange). ...It’s a good idea, but signage is the ultimate (thing) to make it work.”
After exiting the DDI, drivers heading to Turkey Lake Road will instead stay to the right and enter the looping access ramp, which passes over Sand Lake and ends south of the Phillips Crossing Shopping Center. At this new intersection, drivers can turn left or right onto Turkey Lake.
Also as part of the Sand Lake Road and I-4 interchange project, the current westbound I-4 exit ramp will separate into two ramps — one will lead to Sand Lake Road and the other to Turkey Lake Road.
“Seeing it now and knowing how they’re trying to fix the Turkey Lake intersection — this is the first time I’ve actually seen how this thing’s going to merge — taking people off of westbound Sand Lake and not allowing them to turn left onto Turkey Lake southbound is a big plus,” Messinger said. “Eliminating that should make that intersection much more viable.”
Construction for both projects is expected to begin in 2022.