Visitors Complex from NASA Parkway
|Locale||Brevard County, Florida|
NASA Parkway, also known as NASA Causeway, is an east-west expressway in Brevard County, Florida, containing two causeways. The first causeway connects the Florida mainland to Merritt Island and later, over the private second causeway, connects Merritt Island to Cape Canaveral. As such, the NASA Parkway is the main route connecting points of interest in Titusville, Florida to the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island.
The first causeway begins on the mainland when Columbia Boulevard crosses U.S. Route 1 in Titusville and experiences a name change. This is also the terminus of State Road 405. Continuing eastward, NASA Causeway crosses the Indian River Lagoon. A bascule bridge permits boats on the Intracoastal Waterway to pass through the causeway.
NASA Parkway West
Continuing eastward, approximately 2 miles (3.2 km), it enters the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and the John F. Kennedy Space Center. About 2 miles (3.2 km) in, the road reaches an intersection with Space Commerce Way. The majority of traffic on NASA Parkway turns here, as the main entrance to the Kennedy Space Center is located down this road. At this point, the Merritt Island peninsula is at its widest and about 7 miles (11 km) wide.
East of Space Commerce Way, the Parkway passes the former main gate of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The general public is not permitted beyond this point. Approximately 0.6 miles (0.97 km) east of the Visitor Complex, a NASA security gate permits access to authorized tour buses and Kennedy Space Center staff and supply vehicles only. Immediately east of the gate, the Parkway contains a diamond interchange with Courtenay Parkway, the division line between the western and eastern portions of the Parkway.
NASA Parkway East
The eastern section of the NASA Parkway begins at its intersection with Courtenay Parkway[note 1] in the former town of Orsino, Florida. Traveling east, it passes an area of support buildings and offices. At the end of this area, it reduces from four lanes to two and crosses the Banana River as a two-lane causeway with a bascule bridge.
The causeway over the Banana River is less known than the first causeway, as it is not accessible to the general public. The main use of the causeway is for military personnel to access the mainland, as the route leads from Merritt Island to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
The NASA Parkway designation ends shortly after the NASA Causeway's eastern end, where the parkway terminates at the Samuel C Philips Parkway. From this point, authorized users can access the point of Cape Canaveral via Central Control Road. The Cape Canaveral Light is visible, and, via Lighthouse Road, authorized users can access Launch Complex 46.
While the NASA Parkway is the principal access route for tourists from Titusville and points west (such as Orlando, Florida), visitors from points to the south, such as Cocoa Beach, Florida need not to use NASA Parkway West to cross the Indian River. Instead, they may approach the Kennedy Space Center from the south on Florida State Route 3, which terminates at the Kennedy Space Center property line. Diverted by a security gate, the general public must make a left on Space Commerce Way and directly access the Visitor Complex from the main gate.
- sometimes erroneously known as State Road or County Road 3 when in fact those routes terminate much further south than this intersection