New exit to 417 opens

ORLANDO, Fla. - In the final step of a $70 million project to overhaul a popular Central Florida interchange, thousands of drivers on the 408 eastbound will take a new exit to 417.

Drivers are instructed to bear right on the ramp to head south toward the airport or 528 or to bear left for the flyover to 417 north toward UCF or Sanford.

The simplicity of the new exit is welcomed by drivers who share the interchange with 130,000 other drivers each day.

"It's a lot of traffic and if you're not really paying attention, you're going to miss your exit," said Shakarie Lee.

"Often times when you think you're on the 417 you might still be on the 408 going in a different direction," said Hyness Martinez.

Expressway Authority officials said the new exit, which opened Saturday, should make the interchange less difficult to navigate and reduce the number of crashes.

Drivers said the most important factor will be clear signs.

"It's not so much the ramps or how many ramps or exits they make, as long as they make it clearer," said Martinez.

Expressway officials warn drivers to use caution when approaching the ramp for the first time until they become familiar with the area.

They said drivers should not rely on GPS systems as they may not be up to date with the new configuration.

Officials said the old exit to 417 is closed.

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