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Earth Day 2012


It was Earth Day today, the 42nd since the first one in 1970. To celebrate this year's E-Day I drove back up to the ongoing construction on Palm Parkway and documented what's occurred since the last time I was there on 5 April.

From what I could tell the first stage of construction has finished on the north side of I-4 (between I-4 and Palm Parkway) and moved to the south side where more pylons are being driven into the sand. Where once there was considerable water in the retention pond next to I-4, there is now bare and graded sand.


All of that water had to go somewhere, and that somewhere was the temporary pond built on the cleared land between Palm Parkway and I-4. If you look towards the mid-point of the sand wall to the left, you can see where the pond was increased; the original wall was knocked down to allow more water to be held until it could drain down into the sandy soil. That's because the retention ponds next to I-4 have clay to keep the water contained.


As you can see the water that was in the smaller pond on 5 April has drained back into the sandy soil. The area around the temporary holding pond has a barrier in place to keep the sand from washing into the nearby wooded area in case of heavy rains. It's actually supposed to keep the sand from spilling into streams and other regular waterways, but there's nothing like that around this area. The barrier is to keep the mess from spreading further in case of very severe weather.


By the time this is all finished there will be a short-cut across I-4 between the south end of International Drive and this side of I-4, which feeds both Disney Village and east back towards Universal. Right now there's very little traffic, but when this opens up I expect to see a tremendous increase of traffic, assuming of course we don't have another economic crash. Based on my observations around Orlando, I don't expect this bridge to be finished and opened until the first quarter of 2013 at the earliest.

If this project had started before 2008, I would have said it would have been finished by fall. But since construction has re-started in Orlando it looks like projects are taking twice as long to finish as they once did. This slower tempo might be due to a combination of tightness in the credit markets, the lack of experienced labor (many older and experienced construction workers were forced out into retirement or other locations when the construction industry imploded around 2008), the tightness of raw materials (especially concrete), or something else entirely. Whatever the reasons all the projects are progressing at a more measured, deliberate pace.


We've had a strong front pass through the area, leaving thundershowers in its wake. The lighting this afternoon was all over the place, first cloudy then the sun would peek out. In the end I just picked a common temperature and tint in post with LR4 and that's what I used with all the photos. That's why some of the photos seem dark and cloudy (it was) while the last was bright and sunny (it was). Chronologically the two middle photos were taken first, the last photo was taken last, while the top photo was taken next to last. During that period the clouds were clearing out and the light was getting brighter. I even got hit with a spitting shower, which is why I'm glad I had my E-1 and E-3 with me.

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