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Complex $80 million widening project for Sand Lake Road needs GC

Complex $80 million widening project for Sand Lake Road needs GC
Traffic wizzes by on Sand Lake Road in the Dr. Phillips area, near the tourism corridor which will be a focus of the six-lane expansion for the road. (Red Huber / Orlando Sentinel)

A general contractor is being sought for the $80-million six laning of Sand Lake Road (S.R. 482), which cuts through the heart of the tourist corridor and is one of the most congested roads in the area.

The Florida Department of Transportation has put the 4.53-mile project out for bids, with a deadline of May 25. FDOT will open the bids to start its review of them that same day.

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The successful bidder will likely have considerable experience under its belt putting down roads, as well as reconstructing interchanges and building bridges. The general contractor will take the lead, figuring a work/cost ratio, then bringing in subcontractors that specialize in things like demolition, paving, storm drains, catch basins, curbs and gutters and the other components that go into a successful road job.

The contract award is typically made roughly 60 days after the deadline, and would serve as a green light for the nearly three-year project to get underway.

The roadwork originated as a three section project. It was changed to one because grouping the project in such a way will allow construction to be complete sooner than breaking it into pieces, an FDOT spokeswoman said.

Sand Lake Road has long been known for its congestion and bottlenecks, with discussion at one point for a pedestrian elevator to get across it.

All told, the new roadway will pass near the area's biggest attractions that also draw some of the most traffic: Walt Disney World, SeaWorld and Universal Studios, among others.

MetroPlan Orlando, the metropolitan planning organization for Orange, Osceola, and Seminole counties, placed the Sand Lake Road project high on its priority list, and FDOT determined construction would begin this year.

The most expensive part of the project will cost $39.2 million, taking Sand Lake Road to six lanes from four, between Universal Boulevard and west of John Young Parkway.

This part of the project also requires broadening existing bridges within the Kirkman interchange to accommodate the roadway widening, and the bridge over Shingle Creek will be reconstructed.

Median access modifications are planned, as are improvements to traffic signals and pavement marking. The effort also involves milling and resurfacing.

A part of the project costing $33.7 million will involve Sand Lake Road from West of John Young Parkway to east of Presidents Drive, and include the creation of a John Young Parkway fly-over bridge over Sand Lake Road. The fly-over bridge is for John Young Parkway traffic to circumvent Sand Lake Road. It also includes new pavement markings and sidewalk improvements.

The $7.2 million balance will involve widening Sand Lake Road from four to six lanes, from west of Turkey Lake Road to Universal Boulevard, with drainage improvements, bike paths and sidewalks on both sides. It also includes roadway improvements to International Drive.

Funding will come from federal, state and Orange County sources.

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