Reedy Creek Improvement District expects to put out construction documents for bid late this year on a 1-mile extension of Center Drive on the northern edge of its property, realigning the entry point on Reams Road in response to increased traffic through what was once strictly "back of house" area, district administrator John H. Classe Jr. told GrowthSpotter.
"There has been tremendous growth in the area north of RCID; the residential communities in Horizon West, the residential and commercial projects along S.R. 429 and S.R. 535 and the residential and commercial projects directly on Reams Road," Classe said. "The growth in this portion of west Orange County has significantly increased traffic on all the roadways in the area, including existing Center Drive off Reams Road."
The project involves realigning Center Drive slightly northwest of where it begins now at Reams Road, north of a Disney employee parking area and Magic Kingdom, in order to extend a new 1-mile stretch of the drive south to Floridian Way, where it intersects with Maple Road.
The extension would have four new lanes and a single double-span bridge over the L-407 Canal, according to an engineering report from Professionals Service Industries, Inc. Plans were filed in early July with the South Florida Water Management District.
The traffic now on Center Drive includes Disney cast members, Disney back of house operations and a certain amount of cut-through traffic traversing through RCID, Classe said.
"Typically, guests to the Walt Disney Resort do not use Center Drive for access," he added. "The proposed project will relocate the roadway connection to Reams Road and separate cast member traffic and cut-through traffic away from the Disney back of house operations."
The project is under design at this time, Classe said. Construction documents are anticipated to be released for bids from invited contractors before the end of the year. Construction should commence in early 2017 and be completed in early 2018, he added.
Improvements to the intersection of Maple Road and the proposed Center Drive are also planned, with a realignment of Maple Road at the meeting point. New traffic signals should be installed at the intersection.
New residential development on Reams Road and in nearby Horizon West has ramped up in the last year, with projects that include Beazer Homes buying 119 acres less than a mile from the Center Drive entrance, RockHarbor Investments buying 14 acres to build 340 apartments, and Mattamy Homes buying 100 acres on Reams Road to build homes aimed at Disney staff.