Massive growth prompts major Beachline interchange project

By Ryan Harper, Real Time Traffic Expert
Last Updated: Wednesday, January 18, 2017, 6:29 PM EST

Some big changes are on the way for a rural part of east Orange County. In fact, soon it could never be known as “rural” again.

The sights and sounds of major construction permeate the air for a new Beachline Expressway interchange in east Orange County at Innovation Way.

The purpose of the project is to prepare the area for people — lots of people.

Officials said this is a pre-emptive strike, because there is a lot of development on the way. And it's going to be here sooner rather than later.

The $62.5 million project started last summer with a completion time projected to be sometime in 2018. There will four ramps with two new ramp plazas, and the project will also include the extension of Alafaya Trail to Aerospace Parkway with connection to International Corporate Park Boulevard. Speaking of ICP, that interchange will be demolished after the new interchange is up and operational.

“This area will be much better for commuters to travel through,” Central Florida Expressway Authority spokeswoman Kelda Senior said.

The project is expected to make way for Orange County's portion of Tavistock's Sunbridge community. The Orange County project includes 5,000 acres off the Beachline and will add more than 7,000 homes. Osceola County's much larger portion of the project includes 19,000 acres.

"This project is really from the Expressway Authority's standpoint about planning for the future, planning for future development and for making traveling in this area easier for residents and commuters,” Senior said.

The project is taking into account more than homes. It’s making room for All Aboard Florida's Brightline train route, the passenger rail that will eventually connect Miami to Orlando. The first phase will connect Miami to West Palm Beach and should open later this year, with Orlando coming later as part of Phase 2.