A new Central Florida Expressway Authority project is underway to make an interchange in the Hamlin area safer.
Multiple improvements are in the works for the State Road 429 and New Independence Parkway interchange, including widening the southbound State Road 429 exit ramp to New Independence Parkway and adding pedestrian and vehicle signals on New Independence Parkway at the State Road 429 ramps.
Kathy Putnam, public information officer for the Central Florida Expressway Authority, said construction for the $2.3 million project may involve closing lanes overnight, but not entire roads — traffic will still be able to get off the southbound ramp.
“The work at this interchange is really to improve traffic flow at that interchange and improve mobility for traffic on New Independence Parkway for both vehicles and pedestrians under State Road 429,” Putnam said.
The widening of the southbound ramp will allow for more capacity, cutting down the number of cars backing up along State Road 429, Putnam said.
“You see all these signs for ‘new homes coming’ — they’re either under construction or the signs are up for new homes coming,” Putnam said. “Obviously, with the homes being built … there are going to be more cars. This helps take cars off of the mainline — the through traffic.”
Nicholas McGee, general manager of Bosphorous Turkish Cuisine near the interchange, said cars typically get backed up along both the northbound and southbound ramps during rush hour on week days. Widening the southbound lane would certainly help, he said.
“They’ll be able to double up on vehicles … it’ll be side by side instead of single file,” McGee said. “It takes about five minutes (during rush hour) if you’re in the back of the line to get to the front of the line.”
New signals should make the interchange safer for pedestrians and vehicles alike, Putnam said.
“Just with the amount of traffic that’s coming, it will really help with traffic just being able to get through that area,” she said. “Obviously, when you have a traffic signal and a pedestrian signal, it’s much more convenient and safer for people to be able to walk in an area.”
Putnam said the project should be completed by late spring.
According to the Central Florida Expressway Authority website, work could be delayed by weather and other unforeseen circumstances. Motorists are urged to use caution in the construction area for their safety and that of the work crews.
“We love projects like this because they’re quick and they have a great impact for the folks that will be using that ramp and that interchange,” said Brian Hutchings, senior communications specialist for the Central Florida Expressway Authority said.
“This is one of those great, win-win type of projects that we’re always happy to do.”