SR-46 to get new safety changes

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SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - One of the most dangerous roads in Seminole County is about to become a little bit safer. As many as 10,000 drivers use State Road 46 every day.

Immediate safety changes, like lights, are being put in between East Lake Mary Boulevard and 1st Street in Geneva.

But WFTV's Bianca Castro found out even bigger safety improvements are in the works.

Residents in Geneva remember the morning in 2005 when a mother and her 4-year-old son were killed on the stretch of 46 that goes through their town.

Since then, six people have died on the same two-lane stretch of road.

"Do you feel safe when you drive up and down this road?" asked Castro.

"I feel very unsafe," said driver Lila Sheppard. "I'm scared late atnight, too, because people cross over and stuff, and you have nowhere to go."

And that's the message county officials got at a public meeting last month. Now, they are planning immediate safety changes.

One-hundred-twenty-eight crash-related injuries have been reported, which is twice the state average.

The majority of crashes are rear-end collisions. It's mainly because there aren't enough turn lanes on the road. Every time a driver turns, everyone behind that driver has to stop, too.

The county will likely add new turn lanes, rumble strips or flashing caution lights at key intersections.

The short-term fix won't cost more than half a million dollars. But the long-term solution is a $400 million project to widen the road from two lanes to four.

But that project is about 10 to 15 years out.

Drivers are relieved something will be done sooner.

"It's wonderful. They should have done it a long time ago," said Sheppard.

The county hopes to get emergency grant money for the safety improvements.

Construction will start sometime next year.

The road between Hartwell and Ridgewood avenues will be getting $1.5 million in safety upgrades.

The area has had a number of serious crashes in the past few years. Construction will start in 2015. The county plans to add an extra eastbound lane and left-hand turning lanes.