408 Expressway's Chickasaw Trail ramps open Tuesday



ORLANDO, Fla. - Drivers on the 408 Expressway in East Orange County will have an easier commute Tuesday morning.

The new ramps at Chickasaw Trail opened on Tuesday for those heading to and from  downtown Orlando.

Most drivers have since been using the Goldenrod Exits, but that won't be necessary come Tuesday.

"I hate getting off at Goldenrod then all this construction here. Terrible!" said driver Susan Clinger.

The Chickasaw Trial ramp is the last part of a nearly $20 million project on the 408 Expressway where construction crews have been busy for the past year.

Some drivers said the change couldn't come soon enough, because construction on side roads hasn't made the commute easier.

When drivers exit at Goldenrod Road, they get dumped into a construction zone with heavy delays, sometimes taking 25 minutes just to travel a half-mile.

"If there wasn't all that, it wouldn't be as bad, but it makes it worse," said driver Susan Clinger.

If people are driving away from downtown Orlando on the 408 Expressway, the new ramp to Chickasaw Trail will be a half-mile up the road from the Goldenrod Exit.

Even though it's only a half-mile apart, it's enough road distance for drivers to avoid the construction zone and heavy traffic on side roads like Lake Underhill Road.

The problem has cut into Jairo Gutierrez's business. He said he's lost 30 percent of his business in the last year at his Latin restaurant, and he's hoping lighter traffic will make people want to stop in.

"I've been waiting for it for like a year and change now," he said.

The Expressway Authority also opened a new connector road on Tuesday from Chickasaw Trail to Valencia College Lane.