9/17/2015 – Mark your calendar – October 22nd from 5 pm – 7 pm

East River HIgh School

October 22nd from 5 pm – 7 pm is the SR 408 Extension Project Development and Environment (PD&E)  kickoff meeting at East River High School (Hwy 50 and 419) hosted by the Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFX).

The purpose of this study is to develop a proposed improvement strategy that is technically sound, environmentally sensitive and publicly acceptable. This study will evaluate strategies to enhance mobility in eastern Central Florida with an expansion of State Road 408 from its current eastern terminus to SR 520 in eastern Orange County.  Read more details here.

I am on the Project Advisory Group (PAG) for the 408 extension and recently attended a meeting hosted by Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFX).  The purpose of the meeting was to start the process for the Project Development and Environment (PD&E) phase of the 408 extension out to 520 and to gather feedback from participants that will give CFX some advance knowledge of what would be acceptable to the general public on where and how the expressway should be located and built.  My role on this advisory group is to share the information from the meeting with you.

If you have an opinion and would like to offer your feedback either attend the kickoff meeting and/or email me at .

408 Expansion Corridor Map

In a study conducted in 2008, the optimum corridor was determined to be along Hwy 50 as shown on this map.  A recent followup study was done confirming this is still the optimum corridor.  The scope of this project is 7 miles from the end of 408 to 520.

How the road will be built is still to be determined as we are at the very beginning stage of the PD&E so don’t expect that to be answered in this meeting.  As the study progresses and the planners look closely at the route, they will find the right way to build this road.

We know that even when Hwy 50 is six laned, the road will fail before 2040.  We have all seen the county maps that show over-capacity on most of the roadways out here.  Some county maps we have seen have noted that Hwy 50 has notations that say, “WIDEN 6-10″.  But Hwy 50 cannot be expanded more than 6 lanes so what does that actually mean.  How can there be a note indicating 10 lanes?  It means that somehow additional lanes are needed and the mechanism to achieve this is through parallel alignments.  The 408 extension is the parallel alignment we desperately need to get past the six lane restriction on Hwy 50.  I think we all agree that more lanes are needed to move traffic east-west and the 408 extension is the answer.  I hope you come to the meeting in support of the 408 extension.

CFX Five Year Work Plan

Even though this PD&E is underway, it doesn’t mean the road will be built.  That will depend on funding.  As always, money is an issue.  The 408 extension is competing with other projects.  All projects will not be able to be completed and some will sit on the shelf as the 408 extension has since 2008.

One advantage we have is this project is the only project in PD&E so we are ahead of everyone else.  But even if everything went perfectly, the PD&E stage lasts through 2016 and after that there is 2 years of design (2018) and finally 3 years of constructions taking completion to 2021 and that is best case.  Realistically, my gut feeling tells I would not expect to see the 408 extension completed by 2021 because things never go perfectly, right?

Meanwhile Hwy 50 is being expanded right now and will be six laned out to the bridge across the Econ in 2 years.  This will most certainly help in the short term.  Expanding Hwy 50 from the bridge to 520 is funded FOR DESIGN at this time but construction is currently unfunded so we don’t know when funding will be available.  These projects will have to be considered in the PD&E study and how all the puzzles fit together.

We are all aware of the developments out on Lake Pickett and there are people split for and against.  But however you feel on that issue, one common ground I think we all have is the main arterial roads need to be strengthened meaning Hwy 50 and the 408.  I hope you come to the meeting knowing the 408 extension will relieve the congestion on Hwy 50 and dramatically reduce commute times.  But we have to get it built first.

Please come to the meeting with an open mind, lots of questions but knowing that this is just the beginning and many questions can’t be answered right now.  There will be more public meetings and as the study progresses all the questions will be answered in time.  And of course, I will be posting updates as the project progresses to keep you informed.



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Posted in McCulloch Road.