LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is reversing course on a project that would have built a new flyover-type ramp into Disney Springs.

What You Need To Know

  • FDOT scraps project to add a flyover-type ramp from SR-535 northbound to Hotel Plaza Boulevard near I-4

  • Instead the state plans to make a loop ramp from SR-535 northbound to I-4 west

  • FDOT spokesperson said the change was made to provide “the best return on investment”

  • Construction is set to begin by end of the year

The plan was originally a part of improvements coming to Interstate 4 and State Road 535 in the Lake Buena Vista area.

“We need something to be able to get traffic down Hotel Plaza Boulevard,” said Jay Leonard, complex general manager at Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs.

Hotel Plaza Boulevard, which is located off of SR-535, and close to I-4, provides access to several hotels, Disney Springs and the rest of the Walt Disney World Resort.

“There’s just so much traffic here,” said Leonard.

Leonard said it gets very busy on Hotel Plaza Boulevard in the evenings.

It’s why FDOT originally planned to build an echelon interchange at SR-535 and Hotel Plaza Boulevard. The interchange would have allowed drivers on northbound SR-535 to make a right turn onto a flyover ramp to avoid SR-535 traffic and access Hotel Plaza Boulevard.

The echelon interchange would have eliminated the traffic that gets backed up on northbound SR-535 for those drivers looking to turn left to get onto Hotel Plaza Boulevard.

FDOT told us about the project for two years, which would have used some of the land the state gained to demolish the one time popular Crossroads area.

“It’s going to be very disappointing because we really had this expectation on the block that we’re going to have traffic coming right into our destination, and just make it a smoother arrival down our boulevard,” said Leonard.

Instead, FDOT will use the Crossroads land to make a loop ramp from SR-535 to westbound I-4. The ramp will eliminate the need for drivers to turn left across traffic to get onto I-4 west.

The work also includes lengthening the I-4 west exit ramp, realigning the I-4 west entrance ramp and building an express lane on I-4 west, called the Tube.

An FDOT spokesperson said the change will still help the area, alleviating backups from SR-535 to I-4 west. He said the plan for the echelon interchange at SR-535 and Hotel Plaza Boulevard was swapped out for the I-4 west ramp to provide “the best return on investment.”

Leonard hopes FDOT will consider improving the entrance to Hotel Plaza Boulevard from SR-535 in the future. He says just getting off I-4 and trying to get to the hotel is frustrating for visitors.

“Sometimes when (guests) get to the front desk they’re physically and mentally exhausted after that drive,” he said.

Construction on I-4 west and SR-535 will begin by the end of the year.