ORLANDO, Fla. – My segment “Ride Along with Trooper Steve” has brought me to all parts of our community in Central Florida.
Wednesday was like no other day, however. I was planning my route and time schedule when I kept overhearing the large discussions about News 6′s Boomtown initiative and how everything is changing given the growth in our area.
I laughed to myself because what’s a more obvious sign to the huge boom than our roadways? When I talk about roadways, I mean how they physically appear. Nothing is what it was three to five years ago and it probably won’t look the same within the next three to five years in the future.
For now, I’m just talking about three different roads that have gone under a complete redesign: John Young Parkway, Interstate 4 and State Road-46.
SR-423, better known as John Young Parkway, has changed so much over the years from the southern Kissimmee area to the norther portions in Orlando. From expanding turning lanes, adding a new intersection and the brand new overpass at Sand Lake Road, it’s no longer something we can call a small local road.
Then, if there was a billboard for Boomtown, I would simply call it “I-4." We are talking about one of the oldest interstates in Central Florida and it’s now undergoing one of its biggest redesigns.
An interstate that’s gone from four to six lanes and, in some portions, being expanded to 10. There is no other road in Central Florida that screams “We have grown so much over the years,” and, simply put, will continue to grow -- rapidly.
Of course, if you live in our more rural portions of northern Central Florida like SR-46, you could be confused if you’ve left for a few years. A road known for its lively forestry and rural communities can now no longer be recognized. You can’t deny we are under a boom when seeing the new overpasses and twice the amount of travel lanes and traffic signals put in places than anyone ever thought.
But how do we deal with roads that are forever changing? My answer: teamwork. For many years in the past we have all come together as a community and grown together and this is no different time.
With safety and patience always in the front of our mind, we will deal with the Boomtown one day at a time.