Board votes to stop plans to extend 408 Expressway

Members say they heard residents' concerns

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Central Florida Expressway Authority shelved plans Friday to extend the 408 Expressway in the Orlando area, citing residents concerns over their property.

The CFX board voted unanimously to hold the $17 million set aside for the project.

Designers of the plan said extending the 408 Expressway to State Road 520 would have helped alleviate growing traffic congestion along Highway 50 toward Lake Picket and Bithlo.

The plan was heavily fought by residents of the Deerwood Mobile Home community, which sits right off Highway 50.

"I kind of figured it was going to happen," resident Mary Ammann said. "I didn't know it was going to be this soon."

Ammann said she and her neighbors feared their homes would be flattened by plans to extend the roadway.

"Elderly people, people who can't afford to go anywhere else -- they have their homes here," Ammann said. "They're settled here, and they're just going to uproot them and do what?"

During the board meeting on Friday, members said they heard what those residents were saying.

"It's important to know the community was heard, and it made a difference," CFX spokesman Brian Hutchings said.

There are still concerns, however, over the growing amount of traffic in the area.

New housing developments are planned in the Lake Picket area and just across the Seminole County line.

News 6 found out that the Florida Department of Transportation started its own study about alleviating congestion in the area, and its plans could possibly include widening Highway 50.

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