Keeping Things Moving
… Travel In and Across the Region.
With a population of 2.3 million residents, plus an average of more than 66 million visitors a year, getting from Point A to Point B across Orange, Osceola, Lake and Seminole counties is critical in keeping the Orlando region’s diverse economy moving. The region’s infrastructure offers reliability and efficiency with forward-thinking plans that include approximately $15 billion in transportation infrastructure, competitive products and quality of life features. This substantial work adds new assets and keeps pace with the area’s fast-paced growth.
The biggest example of this progress — or perhaps more aptly, the ultimate example — is the overhaul of Interstate 4, which runs through Orlando and connects the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean. The $2.3 billion I-4 Ultimate project, started in 2015, is a 21-mile makeover that encompasses downtown Orlando plus areas west and east of downtown — 5.7 miles of “attractions” roadway, 4.2 miles downtown, 4.9 miles slightly east of downtown and 6.4 miles farther east extending into Seminole County. The transformative construction work will continue for several years.
Work was recently completed on another key roadway artery, the Wekiva Park, completing Orlando’s beltway system. The 25-mile tolled expressway provides travel alternatives and relieves local congestion in Orange, Lake and Seminole counties. The investment totals $1.6 billion. One side note: development of the Wekiva Parkway includes setting aside more than 3,400 acres of land for conservation.
In much the same way, SunRail, started in 2015, has breathed new life in commuting to and from downtown Orlando. The improvement project was a $615 million investment in the region’s commuter rail system, running 31 miles from Orange County to Volusia County, with plans for eventually connecting into Osceola County for a total of 61 miles. Also, a $2.2 billion express train is set to arrive soon, connecting Orlando to Miami. Called Brightline by All Aboard Florida, the train service will use an existing railway corridor between Miami and Cocoa and a new track along State Road 528 between Cocoa and Orlando. Brightline launches service between Miami and West Palm Beach in 2017, with subsequent service from Miami to Orlando.
All of the advances keep the words “crossroads” and “hub” as important elements of the region.
Certainly, those words can be used for Orlando International Airport, one of five major airports within the region. OIA (or MCO for travelers) is the third largest origin and destination airport nationwide. And more activity is on the way, thanks to a current $1.8 million expansion.
For the record, those are only some of the highlights regarding what essentially is the region’s infrastructure. For example, the region’s utilities play a chief role, too. Those advanced, modern networks sustain the needs of the community with clean, green sources of fuel, power and water. To illustrate: In 2004, a record-setting hurricane season, Orlando’s downtown corridor never lost power and major technological centers never experienced an interruption in utility service.
That would be the definition of keeping things moving.