ORLANDO-It never hurts to ask and that’s all Universal Orlando is doing at the Florida Turnpike Authority. The theme park wants to know if a long-talked-about, two mile south extension of Kirkman Road to the Bee Line Expressway is feasible as a toll road.

If it is, the Turnpike would build it at an undetermined date at an estimated construction cost of $90 million, or $45 million per mile. That would make the short artery one of the most expensive roads in the state.

The Turnpike is starting a $1 million study to see if the road would generate the volume of vehicles needed to make it break even at least. The study will take two years to complete.

For Universal, however, the extension, built from toll-road revenue, could trigger the next wave of park development, estimated by Universal itself years ago as at least $1 billion. That’s because the extension would run through Universal’s 1,800 acres of undeveloped dirt within spitting distance of the four million-sf Orange County Convention Center.

A new theme park, hotels, restaurants, retail and other entertainment venues would be cranked up in the new development folder. All Universal would have to contribute to the new toll road would be right-of-way land which it has in abundance.

Universal and Turnpike officials couldn’t be reached at GlobeSt.com’s publication deadline for comment on the study or projected new features at the park. But land brokers familiar with the long-discussed toll road say Universal’s request to the Turnpike is good timing.

“Universal bought all that land five or six years ago, knowing eventually they would have to develop it at the most opportune time,” Dean Fritchen, senior associate, Arvida Realty Services Commercial Division, Winter Park, tells GlobeSt.com. “With the $750 million, one million-sf addition coming on line in 2003 at the Orange County Convention Center, this is the right time to try and get that short extension done, at somebody’s else expense.”

If the two-mile road is built as a toll road, two interchanges would probably be erected at commercially intense Sand Lake Road and industrial-heavy Bee Line Expressway, area brokers tell GlobeSt.com.

That would be another plus for the tourist-choked International Drive and the Convention Center which hopes the extension would ease traffic congestion at its location.

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