I-4 off-ramp pitched in tourism corridor to aid Sand Lake Rd congestion

Early-stage plans are being developed by a group of tourism corridor stakeholders to propose an off-ramp along I-4 West that would provide a new exit to alleviate congestion at the Sand Lake Road intersection.

The off-ramp could deliver highway motorists onto Turkey Lake Road in front of Orlando Health's Dr. P. Phillips Hospital, which has a traffic signal at Hillenmeyer Way. The project has been an effort of Efficient Transportation for the Community of Central Florida (ETC), a private group of about 20 owners and operators on International Drive that lobbies for those businesses on a range of issues at local and state levels.


Chrissy Martin-Foglesong, head of ETC, said the group began developing the concept in April, and has received some positive initial feedback from the Florida Department of Transportation on its feasibility.

ETC's early projected cost of $2 million to $3 million for a quarter mile-long off-ramp may prove to be low, considering the complexities of building the ramp along a narrow strip of land that lies between I-4 and Turkey Lake Road, which is currently used for drainage and may need to acommodate I-4 Ultimate expansion.


Solange Dao, senior design engineer at Dao Consultants, was hired by ETC earlier this year to provide conceptual designs on how and where a new I-4W off-ramp would be best located.

Aside from the conceptual drawings provided by Dao Consultants, no traffic counts for Turkey Lake Road have been conducted yet, or any of the other research required by FDOT to determine if a ramp is feasible at any location along the road.

Martin-Foglesong said the ideal will be organizing a public-private partnership to fund the off-ramp construction, in which land owners along that stretch of Turkey Lake Road whose properties would benefit most could help fund the project.

"We think it would be best to take this public-private if we can find the financial support, because to wait for a public entity to fund it alone means this wouldn't be a priority any time soon," Martin-Foglesong said.

The next few steps for ETC will be to go back to FDOT to confirm the state's support in further detail, and begin contacting local stakeholders to gauge their interest. Martin-Foglesong said ETC will consider land owners along Turkey Lake Road from Daryl Carter Parkway to Sand Lake Road among those who could benefit.

The largest land owners along that stretch of Turkey Lake Road include:
-- Walmart Stores
-- DCS Real Estate Capital Investments IV (64 undeveloped acres, whose local contact is developer Randall F. Greene)
-- Orlando Health with the Dr. P. Phillips Hospital
-- Westgate Resorts 
-- 52 undeveloped acres owned by Macomb Oakland Sand Lake LLC (represented by M Shapiro Real Estate out of Farmington Hills, Mich.) 
-- Colorado-based Excelsior Capital Partnerswhich acquired a 39-acre undeveloped parcel in mid-August
-- Orlando's Maury L. Carter & Associateswhich represents 198 acres of undeveloped land near the intersection of Daryl Carter Parkway and Palm Parkway/Turkey Lake Road.

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