POINCIANA, Fla. — Getting in and out of the Poinciana area can be a nightmare for residents because of the heavy congestion.
- CFX approved $280M Poinciana Parkway expansion
- Project also includes widening existing stretch of parkway
- Get more Central Florida traffic coverage
Desiree Puryear has managed Poinciana Insurance for years, watching the area and its traffic grow.
"It would take me a half hour to get to the airport from my house in Orlando. Now that drive would take 120 minutes," Puryear said.
In fact, Osceola County is the second fastest growing county in Florida, and the race is on to alleviate congestion.
Just a few weeks ago, the Central Florida Expressway Authority's board unanimously approved the design and construction of an expansion of Poinciana Parkway for $280 million, which will be a 3-mile stretch up to County Road 532.
That's not all that's happening, either. Because CFX is so happy with how the parkway is used, it's also widening the existing 7-mile Poinciana Parkway from one to two lanes in each direction.
Design will start in spring 2020 and will take about two years. That means construction will start in 2022 and will take about two years to complete after that.
The final part of the project is a widening of C.R. 532 from where the parkway will end up to a mile west of the project. From there, Osceola County is expected to widen the road up to the Interstate 4 corridor.
The end game is to connect the Poinciana Parkway with I-4, completing the Beltway in the area. Several options are still on the table. Construction is expected to be complicated and expensive, and the Expressway Authority says that will include cooperation from state and federal levels as well.
That relief could take some time, however.
"Given the complexity of it, the amount of utilities that are out there and right of way cost ... Combine that with construction ... $1 billion isn't too far off the mark," a CFX spokesperson said.
As for Puryear, although she knows Poinciana needs relief, she's skeptical its citizens will embrace this alternative route.
"They have to work two jobs to get around, and they're not going to want to spend $5 a day just to go back and forth to save a little time. Money is pretty tight for a lot of people in this area," Puryear said.