Oakland gives update on west-end roundabout

The commission also held a discussion on a private school wanting to establish a facility in an empty church building.

The current roads are highlighted in red. The green portion is the road realignment and the addition of the roundabout.
The current roads are highlighted in red. The green portion is the road realignment and the addition of the roundabout.
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The Oakland Town Commission has been given a timeline on the roundabout slated for the west end of Oakland Avenue near West Colonial Drive where it meets with J.W. Jones Road, Old County Road 50 and the West Orange Trail. Town Manager Steve Koontz updated the elected officials in a presentation at the April 13 Town Commission meeting.

“It’s a rather complicated and somewhat dangerous intersection,” he said. “It gets very backed up in the mornings and in the afternoons. … It’s too close to Highway 50 to put in a traffic light.”

The roundabout will be a joint project of the town and Orange County, and the county is managing it. Both are sharing the construction engineering and inspection cost of $300,000.

The town started the design about four years ago when the Oakland Trails subdivision was being contemplated, Koontz said.

The town has designed, permitted and acquired the right-of-way for the project, which will cost $2.3 million to construct. Oakland has worked with Metroplan Orlando to get funding by the state of Florida, Koontz said.

The tentative schedule continues in July when the town will advertise for construction services. The job will be awarded to one of the bidding companies in October. Construction should begin mid-January and continue for 241 days, with a mid-September completion date.

“We actually have our money for our portion of the project,” Koontz said. “Where we thought we might have a million-dollar project, we will pay about $250,000.”

He warned the commission and residents that it will be a “very disruptive project” for eight months. The intersection will be moved slightly north; the West Orange Trail will be realigned, as well.

This moves the traffic further away from Colonial and will provide an additional left-hand turn lane. It also makes it safer for trail users to cross.

“Right now, if you try to ride your bike through that intersection, you have to look both directions and Old Highway 50 at the same time,” Koontz said. “You will have two crossings here, but you will have to look only one way each time. It will be a much safer situation.”

The town will disseminate lane changes, construction updates and other information to residents as staff receives details.

“We’re going to do everything we can to make sure we are out front with everything,” Koontz said.

Complicating matters is a Florida’s Turnpike widening project from the Oakland exit to Minneola. During this project, the bridge on Oakland Avenue that crosses over the turnpike will be out of commission for up to 12 months so the turnpike authority can install a wider bridge.

“As a reminder … we have no jurisdiction over the turnpike project,” Mayor Kathy Stark said.

Koontz said residents who have questions can email him at [email protected].



In another discussion, Town Planner Jay Marder presented the first public hearing of an ordinance outlining a proposed K5 through eighth-grade school off Oakland Avenue. The land is zoned residential but allows for a school.

Family Christian School wants to move into the vacant Mosaic Church property on Machete Trail, which includes a 22,506-square-foot building on about four acres.

The school currently meets at Beulah Baptist Church, in Winter Garden, and has fewer than 150 students.

The commission discussed the traffic plan for student drop-off and pick-up and shared concern about the number of vehicles that would be entering and exiting Machete Trail, which intersects with Oakland Avenue and also crosses the West Orange Trail. Marder said the school would need someone to supervise the traffic.

The first reading of the ordinance passed; the second reading will be held at a future commission meeting.



Amy Quesinberry

Community Editor Amy Quesinberry was born at the old West Orange Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Garden. Aside from earning her journalism degree from the University of Georgia, she hasn’t strayed too far from her hometown and her three-mile bubble. She grew up reading The Winter Garden Times and knew in the eighth grade she wanted to write for her community newspaper. She has been part of the writing and editing team since 1990.

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