Orlando toller completes FL414 Apopka pike - opening ceremony
By Peter Samuel
John Land Apopka Expressway TOLL 414 (FL414) fully opened to traffic Friday afternoon, the seventh tollroad in the Olrando Florida metro area and the fifth of Orlando Orange County (Toll) Expressway Authority (OOCEA). A western portion of TOLL 414 opened to transponder-equipped E-PASS, SunPass traffic February 14 but now the whole tollroad is open at noon today (2009-05-15) including cash payers.
The road is named after John Land, age 86, mayor of Apopka for 57 years. Mayor Land says he loves the new road.
Costing $246m, 9km (5.5 miles) long, this northwest-southeast oriented road is striped for 2+2 lanes but paved for 3+3 travel lanes plus shoulders. It has three interchanges, one mainline toll plaza and two pairs of ramp toll points.
The expressway has several purposes:
- providing a freeflow expressway standard bypass for through traffic otherwise forced to use signalized arterial US441, also the main street of Apopka
- improving connectivity to the northwest quarter of the Orlando metro area
- continuation of a high standard signalized arterial Maitland Boulevard that comes off I-4 north of central Orlando
- connects the TOLL 429 Western Beltway and the future Wekiva Parkway
Started as compromise surface road, finished as nice expressway
The project shows a benefit of toll financing. Florida DOT began developing the project in 1998. An acceptable alignment was selected in 1999.
However FDOT was unable to finance the project even as a signalized arterial using normal gas tax revenues.
The project was stalled.
The toll authority took on the project in 2004. Deciding that future traffic volumes and safety warranted it adopted full expressway standards with grade separation and access control.
This required a Re-evaluation Study and some detail redesign and modifications to the alignment.
Ground was broken January 19, 2007 with completion scheduled for the summer of 2009. There is only some landscaping work still to do, so the project was completed ahead of schedule.
Local sings the praises of the new road
Local resident Alan Byrd in a comment at the Orlando Sentinel site says:
"For those of us who live, work and play in this community, (the expressway) couldn't have come any sooner. Since US441 was built through the center of town, we have struggled with traffic and trucks driving through downtown... it's prevented our community from having a vibrant area like Winter Garden, Park Avenue or Mt Dora.
"Now, the through traffic can avoid our city and save time by taking the John Land Expressway to the TOLL 429 and exiting west of downtown. For non-Apopka people, it provides a great alternative to I-4 when the interstate has a major traffic jam.
"Mayor Land should be applauded for fighting continually for many years to make it happen. Now, our community needs to work just as hard to complete the Wekiva Parkway, connecting the end of the John Land Expressway to Interstate 4 near Sanford."
For cars tolls are $1.00 at the mainline toll plaza, and 50c and 25c at the ramps. (see schedule)
The mainline toll plaza has open road or highway speed tolling through the middle and a couple of cash lanes (coin machines) to the sides.
When the Wekiva Parkway is built the TOLL 414 will be continued in a northwesterly direction to US441 and co-signed TOLL 429. The existing northern end of TOLL 429 which effectively acts for now as the Apopka Bypass will be re-signed TOLL 451.
OOCEA's tollroads & others
Orlando Orange County Expressway Authority already has four toll expressways. On addition the Orlando metro area benefits from a long segment of Florida's Turnpike that goes northwest-southeast through the region and the Osceolo Parkway on the southern fringe.
Our report of opening first portion of TOLL 414: