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Orlando @ AARoads

Much of Orlando's economy is based upon tourism and the major theme parks that call the area home. These include Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, Sea World, etc. Additionally International Drive and the area Convention Centers bring a bounty of visitors to the area along with the tropical type climate that appeals to winter snowbirds.

Before 1950, Orlando was not much different from other wintering locations along the Dixie Highway including Sanford, Winter Park, DeLand. Expansion of the military operations at McCoy and PineCastle Air Force Bases in conjunction with a missile program based in Orlando began the inexorable growth that continues today. As the military presence and role in the local economy decreased, tourism starting with the opening of Walt Disney World in southwest Orange County, took over as the main conduit of money making in central Florida. This trend continues today with tens of thousands of new homes continuing to be added to the metro, even with the 2007 onward real estate meltdown in Florida.

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Interstate 4 was completed in 1965 through Orlando. Beltway plans soon followed, gaining momentum as Interstate 4 became more and more congested in the mid-1970s and in the mid-80s when the metro population surpassed 1,000,000.2 Overall the freeway carries six lanes with some sections as wide as eight lanes with the addition of auxiliary lanes. A plan to add HOT lanes (Express 400) was touted around 2000 but never built. Other plans to augment the congested freeway's traffic concerns remain on the docket, including improving interchanges with Colonial Drive, Florida 414 (Maitland Boulevard), and others. More information to be added later.

For more, see Interstate 4 Florida.

 

Holland East-West Expressway

Florida 408 Toll was constructed originally as a bypass to the congested Florida 50 (Colonial Drive) through the city of Orlando. Extensions were later added in the west and eastbound directs as growth expanded Orlando outward. The most recent extension ties Florida 408 Toll with Florida's Turnpike at Ocoee. Further extension of the road is being studied for both ends. More to be added later.

Florida @ SouthEastRoads - Florida 408 Toll (Holland East-West Expressway)

Central Florida Greeneway

Seminole Expressway

The beltway system of Orlando is tolled because the federal funding system that paid for 90% of a highway's cost ended by the mid 1980s. This led to the Orange Orlando Expressway Authority (OOCEA), Seminole County Expressway Authority, and Florida's Turnpike Authority to overtake the role in paying for the project. A longtime chairman of the OOCEA, James B. Greene, was a huge advocate for construction of both Florida 417 Toll and 429 Toll. His name bears the Central Florida Greeneway section of beltway.2

1988 -six mile eastern beltway opened from Florida 408 Toll northward, faced staunch opposition from landowners and environmentalists. Expressway Authority donated money to preserve lands in the Econlockhatchee and Wekiva River areas to augment the land taken for the new toll road. 90 houses were removed for the project.1

The southeastern beltway opened in 1990 at a cost of $72 million between Florida 408 Toll and 528 Toll. Land developers pushed for the road's eastern curvature to accommodate their needs. The Lee Vista Boulevard interchange did not open until 2000. Two new interchanges slated with the Innovation Way development adding 10,000 plus homes to the area.1

22-mile Southern Connector opened in 1993 at $273 million between Osceola County line and Florida 528 Toll. Developers busy planning the huge communities of Lake Nona, Meadow Woods, Hunters Creek sought the roadway but also made building the road difficult. Rising costs associated with land acquisition and court battles resulted in the cancellation of a Florida's Turnpike interchange and a premature end of the road shy of Interstate 4.

Seminole County Expressway opened in 1994 at a cost of $176 million between University and U.S. 17 & 92. 1.5-mile bridge over Lake Jesup was the most expensive option chosen to span or bypass the body of water. Florida's Turnpike took over this portion of roadway after Seminole County voters turned down a sales tax vote for the highway.1

Southern Connector Extension is a six-mile stretch between Interstate 4 and Orange County that opened in 1996 at a cost of $153 million. Planned to connect with Interstate 4 at Florida 536 initially, but Disney World and other Osceola County landowners wanted it to go southward. $70 million in donations from private land owners help convince Florida's Turnpike to turn the roadway southward to meet Interstate 4. Later Disney built Celebration south of Florida 417 Toll.1

Opened in 2002, the five-mile Missing Link opened in 2002 at a cost of $265 million. Congressman John Mica made a deal to land federal money to secure building of the northernmost segment of Florida 417 Toll. Issues arose with the skyrocketing costs associated with land acquisition in the Sanford area. The mid-1990s saw the cancellation of the Wekiva Parkway segment of Florida 429 Toll due to rising costs. Therefore the north end of Florida 417 Toll does not include provisions for Florida 429's north end. If the two are two tie together, the interchange modification alone could cost upwards of $100 million.1

Florida @ SouthEastRoads - Florida 417 Toll (Central Florida Greeneway / Seminole Expressway)

Daniel Webster Western Beltway

Wekiva Parkway

Western Beltway Part A is an 11-mile segment of highway between Florida 50 and U.S. 441 opened in 2000 at a cost of $237 million. Apopka, Ocoee, and Winter Garden were advocates for building the Western Beltway. State Senator Daniel Webster helped secure funding for the project and is why the highway bears his name. Originally the Part A of the beltway was to travel on an alignment east of Ocoee. However Winter Garden and Ocoee instead opted to have the toll road travel between their respective cities. Rapid growth of all three cities followed the 2000-completion of Florida 429 Toll.1

Part C opened in 2002 at a cost of $120 million. The four-mile stretch opened between Florida's Turnpike and Orange County 435, including the $50-million four-level stack with the turnpike mainline. The stack is one of the most expensive ever constructed in Florida, rising to a height of 80 feet. The interchange was built by OOCEA but paid for by Florida's Turnpike.1

Part C extension opened December 2005. The 13-mile stretch between U.S. 192 and Orange County 435 cost $449 million and was jointly built by OOCEA and Florida's Turnpike. Planning for the toll road went back more then 15 years and thus development ideas coincided with the road concept. Included is the 23,000 acre Horizon West community and Disney's Western Way. Disney donated $7.5 million and 200 acres for the project and received an interchange. The west entrance opens to Disney in April 2007.1

Southwest Connector opened at 7 am on December 8, 2006. It meets Interstate 4 two miles south of where the Central Greeneway begins. Costs of this segment were included with those associated with the Part C extension.1

Planned 20 to 25 mile stretch of highway garnering the most complexity and controversy. The Wekiva Parkway is estimated to cost $1.2 billion. Cancelled in 1994, revived in 2003. Landowners, officials, and environmentalists compromised with the Wekiva Parkway legislation, requiring land preservation and building an elevated road with few interchanges.1 Unclear is funding, who will construct the roadway, and where it will end at Interstate 4. Completion of the Wekiva Parkway may taken ten years.2

Florida @ SouthEastRoads - Florida 429 Toll (Daniel Webster Western Beltway)

 

Martin Andersen Beachline Expressway

Built in stages, Florida 528 originally stemmed east from Sand Lake Road to Florida 15 (Narcoosee Road) near Orlando International Airport. The road was extended east to Interstate 95 and southwest to Interstate 4 to accommodate growing traffic to Walt Disney World and to better join Orlando with the Space Coast. More to be added later...

Florida @ SouthEastRoads - Florida 528 Toll (Martin Andersen Beachline Expressway)

John Land Apopka Expressway

Maitland Boulevard

Florida 414 follows Maitland Boulevard west from U.S. 17 & 92 (Orlando Avenue) through the city of Maitland to junction Interstate 4. The eastern segment of the route carries four-lanes and features at-grade intersections, a folded-diamond interchange with Wymore Road, and a directional-cloverleaf interchange with Interstate 4. The junction between Interstate 4 and Maitland Boulevard is slated for an upgrade after 2013 into a fully directional interchange with no traffic lights.

West of Interstate 4, Florida 414 widens to six lanes but remains as a surface arterial route. However access is somewhat controlled as there are no private driveways and sound barriers on much of the stretch between Interstate 4 and U.S. 441. A single point urban interchange was built at junction Florida 434 (Forest City Road) in the mid 2000s as well and work is underway to upgrade the at-grade intersection with Orange Blossom Trail into a partial-cloverleaf interchange.

Work continues west from U.S. 441 (OBT) on the John Land Apopka Expressway. Crews are building a brand new four-lane toll highway for State Road 414 to connect Maitland Boulevard with Florida 429 Toll (Daniel Webster Western Beltway) south of downtown Apopka. The toll road is meant to act as a bypass of U.S. 441 for through traffic interests northwest to Zellwood, Mt. Dora, and other points northwest. However phase one of the project only takes the road to Orange County 437A at Florida 429 Toll, generally providing a commuter route.

Phase two of the John Land Apopka Expressway involves construction of a new alignment of Florida 429 Toll in conjunction with Florida 414 Toll's western end. This four-lane road will continue the highway northwest from Orange County 437A to junction U.S. 441 at Plymouth-Sorrento Road. Funding, as of 2008, remains unavailable, so road work remains on hold.

When all is said and done, Florida 414 Toll will provide a high-speed route to Orange Blossom Trail near Lockhart, and a multi-lane connection with Interstate 4 at Maitland. The orphaned segment of old Florida 429 Toll north of the new Apopka Expressway will be renumbered as Florida 451 Toll. Florida 429 Toll will continue north from Florida 414 Toll's end on the planned Wekiva Parkway into Lake and Seminole Counties. Phase one of Florida 414 Toll's project should be complete during Winter 2009.

Florida @ SouthEastRoads - Florida 414 (Maitland Boulevard)

Florida's Turnpike / State Road 91

Florida's Turnpike opened through the Orlando metropolitan area in 1965. The route provides a long distance route between Interstate 75 south of Ocala and Miami. However in recent years, the turnpike's role in local commuting traffic has increased rapidly. Because of the added traffic load, widening of the turnpike is underway through Orlando, including a recently completed (March 2008) eight-lane expansion project between Florida 528 Toll and Interstate 4. Overall widening will expand the turnpike between Florida 429 Toll and the Beachline Expressway. For more on the history of the turnpike, see Florida @ SouthEastRoads - Florida's Turnpike.

Florida @ SouthEastRoads - Florida's Turnpike

Dixie Highway

Although pretty much lost to time now, U.S. 17 & 92 represents the historic Dixie Highway through Seminole County. Older sections of the road are now relegated to local street status, especially through the College Park vicinity. Otherwise U.S. 17 & 92 consists of a four-lane commercial arterial leading north from Orlando (junction Florida 50) to Sanford in Seminole County.

U.S. 17 & 92 share an alignment for a significant distance, starting in Auburndale within Polk County and ending in DeLand in Volusia County. Much of the route carries four lanes, with the exception of the segment near Poinciana to Kissimmee, and the drive along Lake Monroe west from Sanford to junction Interstate 4. Locals refer to the combination as simply "17-92".

Orange Blossom Trail

Orange Blossom Trail is the name applied to all of U.S. 441 from Lake County southward to Main Street in Kissimmee. Between U.S. 192 (Vine Street) in Kissimmee and Florida 50 (West Colonial Drive) in Orlando, U.S. 441 shares pavement with U.S. 17 & 92. Much of the route consists of a busy commercial arterial, especially from the city of Orlando southward into Osceola County. Northwest of Orlando, the route varies between commercial and industrial frontage through Fairvilla and Lockhart. U.S. 441 represents the main route to Apopka northwest of there on its path to Mt. Dora and Eustis in Lake County. All of the route carries at least four lanes, with six-laning underway in Lake County and already in place in southern Orange and northern Osceola.

Colonial Drive

Florida 50 follows Colonial Drive throughout greater Orlando, linking the city with Ocoee, Winter Garden, Oakland, and Clermont and Minneola in Lake County to the west. East of the city, Florida 50 connects Orlando with unincorporated sections of Orange County including Union Park, Bithlo, and Christmas ahead of Titusville and the Space Coast. The entire alignment of Florida 50 carries at least four lanes, with some sections expanded to six lanes.

Much of Florida 50 is at-grade, though an interchange is under construction with Florida 436 (Semoran Boulevard) presently. Traffic has been Florida 50's legacy for several decades now and is the reason why the East-West Expressway was originally constructed (and later extended in each direction). Overlaps along the route include U.S. 17 & 92 between Orange Blossom Trail and Orlando Avenue.

Florida @ SouthEastRoads - Florida 50

More Orlando Highway Guides

Miscellaneous Orlando Area Road Photos

Hiawassee Road
Hiawassee Road southbound on the approach to Apopka Boulevard (unsigned Orange County 424). Hiawassee Road consists of a multi-lane divided highway southward from U.S. 441 (Orange Blossom Trail) at Piedmont-Wekiwa Road. Photo taken 02/02/08.
Apopka Boulevard shadows U.S. 441 to the south between Alabama Avenue in downtown Apopka and Beggs Road at Lockhart. Unsigned Orange County 424 emerges from obscurity near the transition into Florida 424 at Forest City Road (Florida 434). Construction of the John Land Apopka Expressway however will sever the alignment at U.S. 441 due to the building of a new interchange with OBT. Photo taken 02/02/08.
Hiawassee Road itself crosses paths with future Florida 414 (Apopka Expressway) near the new Wekiva High School. A split-diamond interchange is under construction between the four-lane arterial, Lakeville Road, and the new toll road. Completion of the John Land Apopka Expressway is planned for early 2009. Photos taken 02/02/08.
Continuing south from future Florida 414, Hiawassee Road continues through residential areas to Beggs Road. Beggs Road travels west from unsigned Orange County 424 (Apopka Boulevard) at Lockhart to a nearby end at Lakeville Road. Photo taken 02/02/08.
Beggs Road
Beggs Road travels 2.25 miles west from Rose Avenue at Edgewater Drive to Lakeville Road in unincorporated Orange County. Beggs Road briefly carries Unsigned Orange County 424 between Edgewater Drive and Apopka Boulevard, passing underneath U.S. 441 without access in the process. Pictured here is the west end of Beggs Road at Lakeville Road. Photo taken 02/02/08.
Lakeville Road
Lakeville Road northbound between Beggs Road and the new Florida 414 Toll (John Land Apopka Expressway). Photo taken 02/02/08.
A split-diamond interchange will join both Lakeville and Hiawassee Roads with the John Land Apopka Expressway south of Piedmont. Florida 414 is under construction between U.S. 441 (Orange Blossom Trail) and Florida 429 Toll (Western Beltway) as part of an overall bypass route around Apopka Photos taken 02/02/08.
Lakeville Road travels one mile north from Florida 414 Toll to its end at Unsigned Orange County 424 (Apopka Boulevard). Apopka Boulevard north leads to downtown Apopka while south heads toward unincorporated Piedmont. Photo taken 02/02/08.
Sheeler Road
Sheeler Road south ends at the westerly turn onto Keene Road in south Apopka. A set of flashers and warning signs direct motorists toward Clarcona Road (Orange County 435). Beyond the tree line is the corridor of the new Florida 414 (John Land Apopka Expressway). Photo taken 02/02/08.
Keene Road
Keene Road takes over from where Sheeler Road ends in south Apopka. Traveling west, Keene Road continues to Clarcona Road and Orange County 437A (Ocoee-Apopka Road). Construction is underway near the Clarcona Road (unsigned Orange County 435) for the John Land Apopka Expressway corridor of Florida 414 Toll. Photo taken 02/02/08.
A partial "Y" interchange will join Keene Road with Florida 414 Toll east to Maitland near the intersection with Clarcona Road. Completion of the Apopka Expressway from Florida 429 Toll east to U.S. 441 is expected by early 2009. Photos taken 02/02/08.
A set of mast-arm supported traffic lights govern the movements of Keene Road west at Orange County 435 (Clarcona Road). Clarcona Road leads north into downtown Apopka as Park Avenue. Southward the vastly unsigned county road transitions into Apopka-Vineland Road en route to Pine HIlls and junction Florida 438 (Silver Star Road). Photo taken 02/02/08.
Apopka Boulevard (Unsigned Orange County 424)
Unsigned Orange County 424 (Apopka Boulevard) north at Sheeler Road in Apopka. Sheeler Road travels south to Keene Road at future Florida 414 Toll and north to U.S. 441 (Orange Blossom Trail) and Florida 436 (Semoran Boulevard). Photo taken 02/02/08.

Sources:

  1. "Drivers, rejoice: Last leg of Western Beltway open." Orlando Sentinel, December 9, 2006
  2. "Building the beltway." Orlando Sentinel, January 30, 2006

Page Updated October 2, 2008.