CFX to strike deal with Turnpike for 408 extension, seek LOIs for Osceola studies

The Central Florida Expressway Authority is expected to invite the state to take over the proposed S.R. 408 extension along Colonial Drive through East Orange County.

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs has requested a discussion of the toll road extension at Thursday's board meeting. CFX is nearing the completion of its Project Development and Environmental (PD&E) study on the extension -- the preferred alternative is to build the toll road within the S.R.50/Colonial Drive right-of-way.

But FDOT, which is in the process of widening Colonial from four lanes to six, says it cannot sell or lease right-of-way to an outside agency. 

That led Jacobs to write Transportation Secretary Jim Boxold in September and ask that the Florida Turnpike Enterprise build and operate the proposed toll lanes. She said Commissioner Ted Edwards suggested the compromise as an alternative to abandoning the agency's preferred route.

"I appreciate your request that the Department undertake the extension project," Boxold responded in a Sept. 16 letter. "We are amenable to doing so and look forward to working with you and other local partners to make this project a reality."

The 8-mile project would extend from the current terminus of the East-West Expressway to S.R. 520 and cost up to $800 million. The first segment would be built as an elevated toll road, while other segments would be constructed within the center median and have some elevated portions.

CFX is also taking steps laid out in its three-way interlocal agreement with Osceola County and the Osceola County Expressway Authority. The CFX board is expected to authorize its procurement department to post a request for letters of interest (RFLOI) for concept and feasibility studies for four OCX toll roads.

"We’re excited about that," CFX Executive Director Laura Kelley said Tuesday. "Our team is excited. We’re ready to start working."

In order of priority, the roads are: Osceola Parkway Extension, Poinciana Parkway extension to I-4, the Northeast Connector and Southport Connector.

The agency has 18 months to select the consulting firms and complete the analysis.  

"If a road is determined to be feasible, the CFX board will add it to their next five-year work program," Osceola County Manager Don Fisher told the OCX board Tuesday. "What this means in CFX language is that it gets built."

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