Beltway now done; could unclog I-4

Published December 10, 2006

ORLANDO - The final 5.5-mile segment of the Western Beltway opened Saturday, promising to divert up to 48,000 motorists from car-clogged Interstate 4 each year.

Motorists can now go straight from Apopka, northwest of Orlando, to south of Walt Disney World.

The $328-million project took 30 months to complete and forms a large piece of the 118-mile loop from Apopka south to Disney, east to Orlando International Airport and north to Sanford.

Orlando's beltway is unlike others because it doesn't form a perfect loop, like those circling Jacksonville, Atlanta and Houston. It's more like two halves, with State Road 429 on the west side of I-4, and State Road 417 on the east. A few miles of I-4 connects the loop to the south.