Busy North John Young Parkway widening from 2 lanes to 3

FDOT: $28 million project should decrease traffic, accidents

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Florida Department of Transportation has plans to widen a stretch of North John Young Parkway that continues to be a traffic problem for Orlando-area drivers.

The two-mile stretch of North John Young Parkway from Colonial Drive to Shader Road near the flyover at Orange Blossom Trail has two lanes; however, the road before and after the intersection is three lanes, causing a bottleneck on North John Young Parkway during rush hour.

Paul Lewis, a LYNX bus driver, commutes to North John Young Parkway from Longwood every day, and he also spends most of his day on the busy highway when he gets to work.

FDOT road widening project on N. John Young Parkway
FDOT road widening project on N. John Young Parkway

"It's a mess, because two lanes is not enough," Lewis said. "It's painful. People on the bus get so frustrated and say, 'Can't you do something?'"

News 6 has reported on several recent accidents on North John Young Parkway, a few of them serious.

"It doesn't matter if it's 10 in the morning or 10 at night," said salesman Bob Quehnell, who drives on the road daily. "In the evening it's terrible, especially in the evening when the three lanes filter down into two, and you get people flying down on the right trying to merge in. I'm surprised there's not more accidents."

Sometimes drivers caught in the disappearing third lane suddenly discover it ends and becomes a turn lane.

"People trying to merge, brake stops, people running lights," Quehnell said.

FDOT has already begun widening the stretch to add a third lane, as well as a bike lane.

The $28 million project will take two years, but FDOT spokesman Steve Olson said the construction should go smoothly because FDOT does not need to secure any additional right-of-way. There is plenty of room for the 12-foot expansion on both sides of the existing road.

18 conflict points on N. John Young Parkway near Shader Road
18 conflict points on N. John Young Parkway near Shader Road

FDOT said eliminating the "choke points" that can surprise drivers will prevent crashes. Also, engineers are eliminating "conflict points," intersections that allow too many drivers to make too many turns, which increases the potential for crashes.

FDOT promised to try to do any major road construction, including lane closures, at night if possible.

The project should be complete in 2020.

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