As the development continues in Dr. Phillips, some of the main roads in the area will be getting some upgrades in the years to come to accommodate the growth.
Dr. Phillips residents met with Orange County Government leaders in a Town Hall meeting May 2 to get an update on some of the ongoing development projects in the area, and a presentation related to roads was given by Transportation Planning Chief Brian Sanders.
“All in all, if we have everything lined up and everything is working real smooth, (it takes) about seven to eight years to construct a major roadway project,” Sanders said. “A lot of that has to do with (that) we’re working on roads that have traffic on it already, so we’ve got to move the traffic … (and) that takes time.”
Daryl Carter Parkway
Sanders said one of the ways the county builds and/or improves roads is through public-private partnerships with developers. An example of this is the Daryl Carter Parkway extension currently under construction.
“This is a developer project that we partnered with,” Sanders said. “(The developer is) doing the first 900-foot segment from Palm Parkway to the Hilton Driveway. They’re looking to complete that around the August timeframe.
“The county was approached by developers of that area, and they understood that we had a future plan for a roadway project to connect Apopka-Vineland Road to Turkey Lake/Palm Parkway,” Sanders said. “They wanted to participate in that. They knew that they were going to put a number of trips on the road (with their developments). They would have to mitigate for some of that. … So through a process we have at the county, a road agreement was formed and got approved.”
The extension is being constructed in two segments — the first being constructed by a developer and the other by the county — and runs through the O-Town West development project and Kerina Parkside development project. Daryl Carter Parkway will be extended from Palm Parkway to Apopka-Vineland Road, which is about one mile in length. The first segment will be 900 feet in length and run from Palm Parkway to the Hilton driveway. Construction of the second segment is expected to begin after construction of the first segment is completed in August and is expected to be completed in 2021 Sanders said.
“That’s going to be a real nice reliever for Sand Lake Road,” Sander said. “It’s a parallel, east-west roadway. There’s a lot of value in east-west roadways in Orange County.”
Sand Lake Road
Improvements to Sand Lake Road also are in the works. A design project for Sand Lake Road from Apopka-Vineland Road to Turkey Lake Road is scheduled to begin in November, and construction is expected to end in October 2022, Sanders said.
“We weren’t able to do a wholesale widening of that roadway — the roadway is constrained by development,” Sanders said. “We figured out we could do an operational project without actually widening the roadway. We utilized the existing turn lanes that are out there today. (We) basically connected them together to pull the drivers out of the mainline roadway into those turn lanes … so that it would give more through capacity to the roadway.”
Sanders added the county also hopes to improve access management of Sand Lake Road and add a multi-purpose path to the area.
“There were also some median improvements that we proposed,” he said. “There were some new left-turn lanes that we’re putting in. We’re going to take the flush median and put curb and gutter on it to help with access management. … (We’re) looking at access management, looking at operations, adding additional accessibility with a multi-purpose path for bikes and pedestrians, signalization upgrades (and) some aesthetic features.”
Diverging Diamond Interchanges
In addition to the county making road improvements to the area, the Florida Department of Transportation currently has plans to improve traffic flow in the area as well. As part of the I-4 Beyond the Ultimate Project, FDOT plans to build two diverging-diamond interchanges within the Dr. Phillips area: one to be located at Sand Lake Road and Interstate 4 and the other at Daryl Carter Parkway and I-4.
A diverging-diamond interchange is a type of diamond interchange where the two directions of traffic both crossover and briefly drive along the opposite side of the road. This type of interchange is designed to accommodate left-turning movements onto arterial and limited-access roadways, and eliminates the need for left-turn bays and signal phases at ramp terminals. The design also reduces the number of potential conflict points by eliminating potential crossing conflicts between vehicles making left turns onto a freeway and opposing arterial traffic, according to FDOT.
“Before you get to the overpass, you switch direction,” Sanders said. “You’re on the other side of the road … and then as you come out (of the overpass) you switch back. It’s an innovative interchange concept that dumps off those turns free flow. Before you get to the switch, you dump off all of the right turn lanes. After make the switch, you dump off all your left turn lanes, (so it’s) free flow. It’ll be much more efficient. I-4 will go over that diverging diamond (at Sand Lake Road), and there’s a bypass route that also relieves the left turns at Turkey Lake Road.”
Bidding will open in 2021 for construction for the diverging-diamond interchange at I-4 and Sand Lake Road, and in 2022 for the diverging-diamond interchange at I-4 and Daryl Carter Parkway, Sanders said.