Shocking! That is just one of the words to describe what motorists saw driving on 468 today in Fruitland Park. The historical Red Road of Fruitland Park that runs from Josephine Ave and West Berckman St. and ends right before Myrtle Lake Ave is being dug up and replaced with an asphalt surface.
The Red Road was once part of a larger road and told a history of the Town of Fruitland Park long before the city grew into what it has today. Back in the mid 1900s supplies to this area of the country were limited. It was difficult to get Concrete to the area and construction crews had challenging times navigating the once many dirt roads that were part of the area.
(The noticeable red styled asphalt was cracking and breaking apart. Patches had been made over the last several years but it was time for a total repave.)
The road has served its purpose over the many years it has been in service. Millions upon millions of vehicles have passed over this very stretch of road. The road can be used as a sort of by-pass of 441 to get directly down to SR 44. The more use the road received in recent years, the more cracks and potholes started to open up.
(The distinct Red Hue color of the roadway will soon be just a memory.)
As of the last 3 years notable attempts to patch the Red Asphalt were made but more would open leading to sometimes hazardous conditions at times. The road was at the end of its service life and the once difficult area to get construction materials to, has blossomed into one of Central Florida’s most booming locations for growth.
The new road will of course be asphalt. As are most roads these days, asphalt is easy to make, rides smooth and has a long shelf life when sealed over every few years. The road is in the process of being dug up and new asphalt is being laid down. The project is scheduled to last a few weeks.
(Note the different colors of the new asphalt on the right and the historic red looking asphalt on the left. The old asphalt is rarely used to make roadways anymore. Some estimates say that it’s 40% more expensive to make asphalt that looks that way.)
Gone though will be this very unique portion of Fruitland Park History. You may still see remnants of the much larger section of Red Road that was paved over many years ago in some driveways along the route that stick out red from underneath the older paved over sections, but this part of Florida history will soon be a memory.
The new road will of course be smoother, safer and look like every other road going in. But the uniqueness of this particular section of Fruitland Park will forever be gone. There are a handful of other red roads left in this area but not many. Especially not any that are heavily traveled like 468.
The Southbound lane is now but a memory and the Northbound lane will soon meet it’s end. We have reached out to the Town of Fruitland Park, for comment and when we hear more on the project we will pass along that information.