Thursday, December 30, 2004


Well, it looks like I'll be homebound for much of the next two years, along with my Celebration neighbors and the other locals in Tourist Land. Soon, I-4 will be reconstructed at the 192 interchange as part of a much larger improvement project. There is information posted on the Celebration Front Porch website, and it should be in an area that you can access without logging in. To see it, click here. You can view additional information by clicking here for the Florida transportation website. The Orlando Sentinel did an article, which you can read by clicking here for a reprint.

The first detour, scheduled to begin January 9, will "force westbound motorists on U.S. 192 to drive past I-4 to World Drive. From there, they'll have to take World Drive south and take the westbound entrance ramp there onto I-4, about a mile southwest of the interchange at U.S. 192" (according to the article).

Granted, that interchange needs improvement. Right now, you take your life in your hands entering or exiting the expressway, or even just passing it by while the people who want on or off whiz by you in lane change maneuvers that would make Richard Petty cringe.

But as a result of the roadwork and the closures and detours that it will require, the backroads around Celebration (where many lost travelers are likely to wind up) will temporarily turn into main thoroughfares. One of my greatest pleasures is being able to get to Disney World via World Drive. No need to slog through the tourist hoopla and sit in endless traffic on 192. It was my proudest day when I learned my first shortcut, and since that time, I have a wide repertoire of shortcuts to get just about anywhere, from Disney World to Four Corners to the Florida Mall.

Now all that will change, as the tourists will be routed onto World Drive and will no doubt wander in confusion around Celebration Boulevard and other parts of town after turning the wrong way. The streets of Celebration can be very confusing to the uninitiated. I often run into people who have turned the wrong way after exiting 417, so I can't even imagine what will happen when the poor souls are purposely routed in our direction. Actually, now that I think about it, it might give rise to a new cottage industry. In Hollywood, enterprising souls sell maps to the stars' homes. In Celebration, I can sell maps to Mickey's house and directions on navigating our spaghetti-bowl tangle of streets.

But even with the new money-making opportunities, the traffic congestion will probably turn me into a hermit, living on food that can be obtained in downtown Celebration, or possibly Water Tower Place if they ever actually turn on the traffic light so people can get out without having to increase their car insurance limits and update their wills first.

Better yet, when my husband and I venture out, we can turn it into a fun new adventure. We'll pack extra food, clothing, and camping supplies. We can order the optional camping pack for our Aztek and pretend that we're on "Survivor." So what if the delays stretch into a day or two? As long as we have a full gas tank and enough food and water to get us through, we'll be fine.

Sure, I kid, but in reality, this will be an interesting evolutionary phase; true Darwinism in action. The strong will adapt, using the existing backroads and developing new sneaky strategies to avoid the congestion. The weak will perish in isolation, trapped in homes that have become prisions, too frightened to brave the hostile automotive jungle.

And just think: for two years, things will be so hellacious that by the time it's finally over, the normal traffic jams will seem like a cakewalk compared to Detour Hell. It's like the old story about the guy who asked another guy why he kept pounding his head against the wall. The reply: "Because it feels so darned good when I stop."

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