Work is underway to make it easier for motorists to move between Orange City, DeLand and Deltona.
A contractor hired by Volusia County is now widening a portion of the two-lane East Graves Avenue, to relieve a bottleneck forming between Veterans Memorial Parkway and Kentucky Avenue, a distance of less than a third of a mile.
“You’ve got two intersections in close proximity to each other,” County Engineer Tadd Kasbeer said. “There’s a lot of traffic wanting to make left turns in both directions.”
Kasbeer noted the intersection of Graves and Veterans Memorial Parkway will be modified by adding two left-turn lanes from Graves onto VMP.
The roads have a seemingly low traffic volume, as measured by county Traffic Engineering. The average daily count of vehicles on the segment of East Graves Avenue between Veterans Memorial Parkway and Kentucky Avenue in 2021 — the most recent year for which statistics are available — was 19,750. Traffic on the two lanes of VMP between East Rhode Island and Graves avenues numbered 14,870 cars and trucks per day, while the two-lane North Kentucky Avenue had an average of 10,830 vehicles per day.
North Kentucky is also a two-lane road, but it is due for major changes, notably widening and the leveling of a rise in the roadway that makes it difficult for drivers on one side of the road to see if anything is coming toward them on the other side. The Orange City Council has already approved two major developments, The Crossings and a warehouse-distribution center, along that rather narrow road.
The Crossings is a mixed-use project that is to include retail stores, restaurants, apartments, offices and a hotel. The project known as the North Kentucky Distribution Center will include a merchandise-shipping and-receiving complex with hundreds of trucks entering and leaving the site each day. The intended user or tenant of the warehouse center has not yet been disclosed.
As for the widening of the portion of East Graves Avenue connecting Veterans Memorial Parkway and Kentucky Avenue, Kasbeer said the work will probably be completed fairly soon.
“We expect construction will be complete in four or five months,” he told The Beacon.
The cost of the Graves Avenue widening is about $1.13 million.
The biggest share of that cost will be covered by a Local Action Project grant of $950,859 from the Federal Highway Administration. The Graves Avenue widening is a safety project that qualified for federal funding, Kasbeer said. The balance of the work will be paid for with local-option gas-tax revenues, he added.
On a related note, the 1.5-mile piece of Veterans Memorial Parkway between East Rhode Island and Graves avenues will someday be widened, also.
“We will be working through the Rhode Island Avenue intersection. The next section from Rhode Island to Graves is not funded for design and construction,” Kasbeer said.
I really dislike what’s happening in the name of “progress” to our quaint city of Orange. I moved here 18 years ago because it was what I call A mom and pop town. I Love it for what it is, not what its becoming. I am by no means Old or retired .I was just tired of a life i never really liked. So I Left NYC 25 years ago to have a better life, peace and quiet, and have the small town feel I’ve always loved. I’m starting to look at moving to other places to live now, as I live on west Graves and that’s become a major thoroughfare for the west part of town ,I just feel its a matter of time the sprawl from deltona and deland will be here too. I’m already watching every 4 foot x 4 foot empty lot have houses just slammed everywhere they can stick them. Ah well, I still love florida and dont think Ill ever leave the state. I will just need to find what I like in another part…
The folks here 10 years before your arrival say the same about those of us who came when you did. As long as families grow and people move, there must be somewhere to grow and move to.
It is time to leave Orange City in DeLand alone leave them alone we lived here too long to get out