Epcot Center Drive is a six lane limited access roadway, that runs in an east-west direction, owned and operated by the Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID). It interchanges with Buena Vista Drive (BVD) approximately 1.3 miles west of the I-4 mainline at its’ interchange with SR 536. When Epcot Center Drive leaves the RCID property it becomes SR 536 which is owned and operated by Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District Five. RCID is currently in the process of reconstructing Buena Vista Drive to provide transit lanes and is completing the redesign of the Epcot Center Drive/Buena Vista Drive interchange to accommodate the extension of the transit lanes and to improve the safety and operations of the interchange. As part of the improvements to the Epcot Center Drive/Buena Vista Drive interchange project, the acceleration lane from the interchange is being extended to the exit ramp from SR 536 to I-4. An additional through lane on Epcot Center Drive/SR 536 is also being carried beyond the gore point of SR 536/I-4 Ramp.
Purpose and Need
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The current condition has traffic merging onto eastbound Epcot Center Drive from the Buena Vista Drive on-ramp using a 500 foot taper. This merge condition is further complicated by a weaving area created by the through Epcot Center Drive traffic wanting to go to I-4 which is already occupying the outside lane where the on-ramp traffic from Buena Vista Drive needs to merge. Due to the high traffic volumes occurring in this weaving section traffic operations have created a safety concern. The existing conditions are shown on Figure 3. The proposed improvements will extend the acceleration lane from the Buena Vista Drive on-ramp to the gore on the I-4 ramp where eastbound and westbound I-4 traffic splits. This improvement along with the proposed new signing will eliminate the short merge condition, greatly increasing the safety for the traveling public by improving the weaving along the mainline of Epcot Center Drive/SR 536 as it approaches the gore for the I-4 ramp, and will allow motorists going to I-4 to enter their appropriate lanes sooner. Figure 4 shows the proposed improvements.