Construction in Seminole County roadway project causes hassle for locals

New exit ramp along S.R. 417 marks latest milestone in Wekiva Parkway project

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – Living in the Sanford and Lake Mary area means living with road construction for most homeowners. Construction crews can be spotted along the 429, 417 and I-4 on most days.

A new exit ramp recently opened on northbound S.R. 417 to International Parkway. It’s the latest milestone on the Wekiva Parkway project that signals the work is nearing completion on the beltway.

News 6 spoke to drivers near International Parkway, who said that waiting for the work to be done around Seminole County will be worth it once they get through these growing pains.

Michael Blinn pointed out the progress near S.R. 49 and S.R. 46.

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“There are growing pains, but when it’s done, this place is going to be a good place to be to jump on every highway,” Blinn said.

As that reality grows closer for some families, on the other side of I-4 others are concerned about future projects near their neighborhood.

Erica Thims bought her home near East Lake Mary Blvd and Brisson Ave in 2021. She says a proposed 2-mile extension to connect S.R. 417 and the Orlando Sanford International Airport would run right by her neighborhood, Kensington Preserve.

Thims pointed out the trees and lake that would be impacted in the space between Kensington Preserve and another new development.

“We bought here for the serenity,” Thims said. “It’s a long-term investment. They’re about to take our property values, and it will be diminished.”

The Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFX) is considering multiple routes as a “concept, feasibility, and mobility” study is underway. It will evaluate the potential impact to the property owners and land nearby and look at improved mobility and economic benefits.

CFX said that building the elevated toll road in the area would accommodate expected growth from the airport and 10 planned developments in the area.

Thims and some of her neighbors fear the highway will bring more noise, traffic and negative environmental impacts — including flooding.

“This is going to have such a great impact on the water and where it goes. We see flooding during a regular storm, so I can’t imagine what it would be like with that highway back there,” Thims said. “We bought conservation lots because we were told it would be protected. It feels like they just want to put another concrete path through here regardless of what it’s going to impact.”

Talking to homeowners is part of the Central Florida Expressway Authority’s process. It’s why they are holding a public meeting on June 20 at Millennium Middle School from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

Seminole County and the City of Sanford have been engaged in the study thus far, and the Board of County Commissioners is expected to receive an update on May 23.

As the discussion on the connector continues, the project remains in the early stages. There is a lot more work that needs to be done to plan it and design it before construction crews would break ground.

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About the Author:

Catherine, born and raised in Central Florida, joined News 6 in April 2022.