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Expressway officials to hold public meeting on proposed SR 408 extension

CFX officials aim to extend SR 408 to intersection of SR 50, SR 520

ORLANDO, Fla. – Central Florida Expressway Authority officials will hold a meeting Thursday to discuss a study regarding the proposed eastern extension of State Road 408.

The public hearing at East River High School, located at 650 East River Falcons Way in Orlando, will begin at 5:30 p.m. and will include an open house for guests to ask questions and voice their concerns about the study's findings, officials said.

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According to expressway officials, the study focuses on alternatives for the proposed extension of State Road 408 about seven miles from State Road 50 to the area of the intersection of State Road 50 and State Road 520 in East Orange County.

The final extension proposal is located South of S.R. 50. It crosses through rural areas and would put a toll road right in the middle of the Deerwood mobile home park.
 
Resident Mary Ammann has lived in the community for five years and seen how much East Orange County has grown.
 
"With all the new buildings and businesses they're putting up, naturally it's getting a little busier," Ammann said.
 
Expressway officials told News 6 they believe the final proposed alignment will best meet the needs of the growing East Orange County area. They add it also has the least impact on the environment, residents, and businesses. 
 
Local traffic blogger RJ Mueller, who lives in the area, has been following the project and agrees with the expressway's findings.
 
"On one side, I can see the need for the evacuation routes, the need for more roadways, but on the other side there's the way of life of the people who live in this area," Mueller said. "How do you pick one over the other?"
 
Mueller adds he believes the proposed alignment is a step in the right direction.
 
"There's the evacuation route need. There's the idea of people moving in more and more. I know the people in the rural area don't want to hear that, ut that is the reality of the situation," Mueller said.
 
Expressway officials said the board still have to approve the final alignment. A vote is set for later this year. If the board approves the plan, expressway officials said there are no design or construction plans in the next five years. 
 
Officials are waiting for the results of a Florida Department of Transportation extension study along S.R. 50 that could turn the road into an expressway. Transportation leaders said they want to determine which project works best.
 
Deerwood mobile home resident Elier Camacho is hopeful residents can keep their homes.
 
"We hope it will take a while before they decide to do that," Camacho said.
 
Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, who sits on the Central Florida Expressway Authority governing board, denied News 6's request for comment on the proposed alignment. News 6 also reached out for comment to Orange County Commissioner Emily Bonilla, who represents the area, but did not hear back from her office in time for this story.

Guests will have the opportunity to voice their comments or concerns regarding the location, conceptual design, social, economic and environmental effects of the proposed extension. View a map of the proposed extension here.

The open house portion of the meeting will be followed by a formal presentation and public comment period.

[MAP: ALTERNATIVE PROPOSED EXTENSION of SR 408]

Feedback provided to expressway officials during Thursday's meeting could bring minor changes, but officials said this is likely the route that will be proposed to board members to vote on later this year.

Draft project documents will be displayed during the meeting and can also be found here or at the following locations until May 7:

  • CFX Headquarters, 4974 ORL Tower Rd. Orlando, Florida 32807, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Orange County Library – Alafaya Branch, 12000 E. Colonial Drive Orlando, Florida 32828, Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, 1 to 6 p.m

The proposed extension plan comes after studies were conducted to determine the best plan for a potential extension. Click here to read more about the studies and their findings.


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