Orlando toller opens part of fifth pike - TOLL-414 John Land Apopka Exwy
Orlando Orange County Expressway Authority (OOCEA) has done a partial opening of their fifth tollroad. Saturday Feb 14 they cut the ribbon on TOLL-414 and about two-thirds of its length is open to motorists with Florida transponders. The full '414' as it is called locally together with cash toll lanes is due to open in May or June over its full length of 9km (5.6 miles).
Opened recently is the western end from TOLL-429 to Hiawassee Rd, a distance of about 6.2km (3.8 miles). The remainder of the road just 3km (1.9 miles) from Hiawassee Rd east to Maitland Boulevard plus cash toll facilities are expected to be opened by June, a spokesman told us.
Connected to surface arterial
Maitland Boulevard (FL414) to which it is connected is a high quality surface arterial - a divided highway with access control and an interchange midway to I-4 at FL434, but also eight at-grade intersections in 7.2km (4.5 miles) that need elimination.
CLARIFICATION: It is poor design to have a surface arterial with at-grade intersections between two roads of full expressway standard, namely I-4 and TOLL-414. Eventually the linking surface arterial Maitland Boulevard will need to be upgraded to full expressway standard by eliminating the at-grade intersections. ADDED 2009-03-09 12:00
TOLL-414 has been called the Apopka Bypass because it allows the bypass of the main street of Apopka for traffic moving between Orlando and the northwest. It has also been called the Maitland Boulevard Extension because indeed it extends Maitland Boulevard whose route number it shares. But its full name John Land Apopka Expressway memorializes Apopka mayor John Land, 86 years old and now in his 57th year as mayor of this 35k pop city and claimed as the longest serving mayor in the US.
He was hospitalized recently and quipped that it had been a close call - his council had voted 3 to 2 to wish him a quick recovery.
Land has campaigned tirelessly for construction of the new expressway for decades. He presided over the ribbon cutting ceremony Feb 14.
The new tollroad is planned for 2x3 lanes but initially is striped for 2x2 lanes with tolling at:
- Coral Hills Mainline Toll Plaza with 2x2 open road toll lanes through the middle and two cash toll lanes either side and a staff bridge over
- a ramp toll plaza pair facing north at Keene Road with cash and transponder lanes
- a diamond interchange with one pair of ramps facing west at Hiawassee Rd also with cash and transponder lanes
At its western terminus at TOLL-429, the Western Beltway it has a partial interchange which for now requires a stop and a left turn southbound. This temporary expedient for TOLL-429 traffic southbound to TOLL-414 saves money upfront. It will eventually be replaced by a high level direct connector ramp, or by an extension of the tollroad further west and then north as part of the Wekiva Parkway project which would extend into Lake County and swing back to I-4.
At its eastern end the road goes through a busy maze of established local roads, radial arterials, and a railroad line. Most of the length of the tollroad is elevated on fill or structure.
Ground was broken on the project Jan 19 2007.
The project has 20 bridges, 30 storm water retention ponds and 600 drainage structures. It was built with five contracts totaling $246m.
The new pike will provide access to TOLL-429, Interstate 4, and employment centers such as Maitland Center, while relieving congestion on US441 and many local roads. In conjunction with the project the Expressway Authority is improving the current TOLL-429 interchange at US441 near Apopka.
Forecasts are that traffic on TOLL-414 could be 38k/day average in the eastern portion in the first year rising to 65k in 2029, and at TOLL-429 at the western end 26k on opening rising to 71k in 2029.
Florida DOT planned the road as a surface arterial in 1998 but did not have funds, so turned it over to the toll authority which upgraded the project to an expressway.
The toll at the mainline plaza is $1.00 for cars and $1 for each extra axle, with flat rate tolls of 50c at the Keene Road ramp plazas and 25c at the Hiawassee Rd plazas. (CORRECTION here 2009-03-09 12:00)