Gridlock frustrates Kissimmee residents. Relief from major road projects are on the way

When News 6 announced it would be highlighting the 34744 ZIP code as part of WKMG Hits the Road, people who live and work in that part of Osceola County contacted us with their concerns about the area’s roads.

“Traffic and construction is just horrendous,” News 6 viewer Jody Toth commented. “It shouldn’t take 20-25 minutes or more to go 4.5 miles.”

Several major road improvement projects are currently underway at a cost of $420 million with the goal of relieving existing traffic gridlock while also preparing for future growth in the area.

Those projects include the widening of Boggy Creek Road, Simpson Road, Neptune Road, and Poinciana Boulevard.

[RELATED: WKMG HITS THE ROAD! FIND OUT WHAT NEIGHBORHOODS WE ARE VISITING]

“Osceola County is one of the fastest growing counties in the country, not just the region,” said Nicholas Hartley, Osceola County’s Assistant Director of Transportation and Transit. “That creates a lot of challenges for us, and we certainly understand that the public has some frustrations with getting around town.”

Billed as the “one of the largest investments for road improvements in county history” when announced in 2019, many of the projects are now in the construction phase while others have been completed.

Work is now underway to widen a 5.9-mile stretch of Boggy Creek Road between Narcoossee Road and Simpson Road.

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About 15,000 to 20,000 vehicles currently travel on that section of Boggy Creek Road each day, records show. County officials predict the daily volume could grow to 29,000 vehicles over the next two decades.

“We’re not expecting development to slow down anytime soon,” said Hartley. “If we don’t spend the money that we’re spending now to accommodate future growth, we’re very deeply concerned that gridlock continues, that we can’t move people around the county. And we’re concerned about impacts to the economy and quality of life if we allow that to happen.”

Simpson Road is also being expanded from two lanes to four lanes. The first phase of the project

, between Boggy Creek Road and Osceola Parkway, is expected to be completed later this year.

Construction began earlier this year on Neptune Road), which is being widened between U.S. 192 and Partin Settlement Road.

Partin Settlement Road is also undergoing major work to prepare for its traffic volume to potentially double by 2045.

Most of the projects will feature new sidewalks and multi-use paths alongside the widened roads.

“People need to be able to walk to the store at the corner. They want to be able to ride their bike and enjoy the community and the environment at their leisure,” said Harley. “The single best way we can improve safety for those users is to provide a multi-use path completely separate from the travel lane.”

Motorists, cyclists and pedestrians are already experiencing relief in some parts of the community. Last summer, Bill Beck Boulevard became the first major Osceola County road project to be completed.

But commuters should continue to expect construction-related lane closures and delays for the near future at other major road project sites.

“We understand construction is painful. And we certainly appreciate the community’s understanding and patience as we work through construction,” said Harley. “But over the next two to three years, these construction projects will wrap up, and we’ll see a significant improvement to operations of transportation infrastructure.”

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