Plans for pushing State Route 408 over the Econlockhatchee River and past the hamlet of Bithlo will get their first formal public hearing this Thursday evening at East River High School in Bithlo.

The plan being studied is for the preferred alternative selected last summer for an eastward extension of SR 408, also known as the East-West Expressway.

The Central Florida Expressway Authority is planning the road in part to address the crush of traffic that has emerged in east Orange County. The expressway authority also is looking at the proposal as part of a potential connector into Brevard County to the east.

This proposed corridor, selected from among five potential corridors and seven combinations, would extend SR 408 just south of where it now terminates at State Road 50 in east Orange County. From there the road would run roughly parallel to SR 50, also known as Colonial Drive, bridging over several roads including Hancock Lone Pine Road, Avalon Park North Boulevard, and Old Cheney Highway, and the cross the Econlockhatchee River, before heading southeast to around the south side of East River High and the town of Bithlo. Eventually it turns east and connects with SR 50 near Orlando Speedworld.

There is a proposal for an interchange at Chuluota Road in Bithlo.

The public hearing is part of the project development and environmental study. It will begin with an open house at 5:30 p.m. and a formal presentation at 6:30 p.m.

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