The new Osceola toll roads would form a 60-mile souther beltway loop interconnected with the CFX system and the FL Turnpike.
The new Osceola toll roads would form a 60-mile souther beltway loop interconnected with the CFX system and the FL Turnpike. (CFX)

The Central Florida Expressway Authority board voted Thursday to hire four separate engineering firms to evaluate potential new toll road routes in Osceola County.

CFX approved a three-way interlocal agreement with Osceola County and the Osceola County Expressway Authority in September to take over the construction and operation of all future toll roads in the county, and to eventually acquire the Poinciana Parkway.

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The agency had 18 months to select the consulting firms and complete the analysis, which involves conducting traffic studies, corridor analysis and even determining "fatal flaws" for each toll road in the 2040 Master Plan.

CFX Engineering Director Glenn Pressimone said he expects to bring all four contracts back for final approval in March, which leaves each firm with about a year to complete the studies.

The Oscoela Parkway Extension (OPE), which includes a full interchange with S.R. 417 Beltway, is the agency's highest priority. Kimley-Horn conducted the Project Development & Environmental Study for the corridor, but the board opted to negotiate with CH2M Hill for the feasibility study.

Osceola Expressway Authority selects route for toll road extension

Learn how the western route will give Osceola drivers direct access to Orlando International Airport, and what just added $90 million to the projected cost.

"We want to get some fresh eyes on it," OCX Executive Director Jeff Jones told GrowthSpotter. Jones was one of two Oscoela representatives on the selection committee.

The board took a similar approach with top-ranked Inwood Consulting Engineers. Inwood conducted the PD&E study for the Poinciana Parkway/I-4 Connector and the Southport Connector, but the board assigned Inwood to evaluate the Northeast Connector.

Central Florida Expressway Authority to take over construction of Osceola toll roads

Learn why this is a historic agreement between CFX and Osceola, and how it can speed up the county's plans to build a southern beltway loop.

The CFX board selected Kimley-Horn to evaluate the Poinciana Parkway - I-4 Connector.

RS&H was chosen for the Southport Connector study.

"We've switched them around in order to get a unique new look at each of the segments," Pressimone said.

If a project is deemed "viable," CFX management would be required to include the project in the agency's next five-year capital budget, also known as the five-year work program.

Board Treasurer Jay Madara questioned the efficiency of hiring four different firms, but Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs supported the recommendation to separate the contracts so a single firm wouldn't be overloaded.

"Because they are distinct projects, this gives us the opportunity to spread the work around in the community, which is always a goal of ours, without adding to the cost," she said.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at lkinsler@GrowthSpotter.com or (407)420-6261, or tweet me at @LKinslerOGrowth. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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