It has been in the planning stages for decades, and now, the new interchange and connection between the Orlando Melbourne International Airport (MLB) and I-95 is becoming a reality. This project should go a long way in accommodating the growth of the community and the airport. It has been estimated that the new link could cut travel time in half, for both airline passengers and those commuting to work at the businesses which make up the aerospace and technology cluster which surrounds the airport.

For years, drivers have had to choose between the two alternative routes: to the south on US 192, one of the busiest commercial and retail corridors in the county, or to the north on SR 518. Both are heavily traveled roads, which are full of traffic snarls during peak commuting times. Hence the need for the long-anticipated alternative, which MLB and area municipalities have been working on for years. Cliff Graham, the director of Operations and Maintenance at MLB said, “Our airport is constantly looking for ways to better serve our passengers, our tenants and our community as a whole and this new connection to I-95 is a win for all of the airports stakeholders.”

Making Connections
Already fulfilling its role of connecting Florida’s Space Coast with hundreds of destinations throughout the world, MLB’s flight options have steadily increased. By offering convenient flight services for both business and leisure travelers, while striving to ensure an enjoyable travel experience, not only are passengers embarking from the area, more and more, but the airport is also becoming a destination for people coming to visit. To accommodate both residents and visitors, MLB has had its sights on this project for some time.

More than 20 years ago, the airport administration reached out to state and local officials with the concept for this crucial connection. By forging partnerships with the Florida Department of Transportation, Brevard County, the cities of Melbourne and West Melbourne, public support for the project gained steady momentum. As a result, the support for the interchange grew, right along with the growth of the airport and the businesses that call that area home.

“We aren’t the same airport we were 20 years ago, and neither is this community,” Graham commented.

An interesting observation, not only from an airport executive, but one who actually grew up in Melbourne and has witnessed its expansion. He added that the interchange is another step in the vital set of improvements that have been made to insure a seamless link to the interstate. Graham went on to identify that there is also a need to widen Ellis Road, from two to four lanes, as the next major phase of the project. Which, according to Graham, is something airlines, tenants, and the people that work around the airport need now and in the future.

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