Orlando is the twenty-sixth largest metropolitan area in the United States and is home to many of Florida’s most popular tourist destinations. Every day approximately 140,000 to 200,000 commuters travel on Interstate 4 to their destinations. This year the Florida Department of Transportation will begin a $2.3 billion project to revamp Interstate 4. Redoing the 21-mile stretch of I-4 from the interchange at Kirkman Road in Orange County to Longwood’s State Road 434 in Seminole County is expected to take six years.
The roadwork will be done simultaneously in phases. The first phase is preparation to the interstate, including installing new warning signs and implementing erosion zones for construction debris. In 2010, I-4 Orlando ranked number 46 out of America’s 75 worst commutes. The revamped I-4 Ultimate improvement project is designed to make travel more efficient and help reduce that worst of the bottleneck congestion.
Revamping Interstate 4
The construction on I-4 is estimated to create around 64,000 jobs and consist of $13 billion in local economic benefits. The new changes on I-4 will comprise of reconstructing interchanges and roadways, including four new tolled express lanes to add more options for commuters as well as replacing 74 bridges and adding 53 new bridges.
New aesthetics will include accent lighting, fountains, bridge architecture, and art sculptures in an effort to give downtown Orlando an open air feel. The new design aims at providing better traffic flow reliability and reduced travel times.
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I-4 Ultimate Project FAQs
When will construction start and end?
Construction on I-4 will begin in February 2015 and is estimated to last about six years. The project is set to be completed in 2021 with a smoother and more scenic commute on I-4 including new bridges, toll lanes, and fountains.
Which parts of I-4 will be under construction?
There are four construction phases that will be worked on simultaneously.
- Area 1 – 5.7 miles near the attraction areas, including 417, 419, Sand Lake Road, and International Drive
- Area 2 – 4.2 miles near downtown areas, including E. Kaley Avenue and East-West Expressway
- Area 3 – 4.9 miles near the Ivanhoe area, including Fairbanks Avenue and Lee Road
- Area 4 – 6.4 miles near the Altamonte area, including Maitland Boulevard, 434, and 436
When will lanes be closed on I-4?
The same number of lanes that are open today must remain open during peak commute hours. Most lane closures will happen overnight between 8:30pm and 7am. It must be pre-approved by the FDOT for lanes to remain closed longer and the public will be notified of the change.
How can I stay up-to-date on traffic information?
Commuters have many options to help them pick the best route to their destination. Travelers can utilize My Florida 511 which offers free personalized email, text, or phone alerts. Commuters may also want to make use of the FDOT’s construction map resources and live construction camera feeds. Additionally, you can download the I-4 Ultimate App for updates sent directly to your phone.
What are some alternate Orlando commuting ideas?
The FDOT and I-4 Mobility Partners suggest using alternate routes or means of travel during the construction period. One alternate commuting option is the SunRail, Central Florida’s commuter rail, which follows I-4 between Sand Lake Road and DeBary. Other alternatives are public transportation via Lynx or shared rides with others.
What will I-4 look like when it is finished?
View image renderings of the new I-4 Ultimate designs here.
I-4 Construction Survival Tips
Construction causes frustrations and delays and in an effort to help commuters during the six years of construction for a better I-4, the FDOT has compiled a list of survival tips:
- Allow Extra Drive Time – Allot extra time for detours that can add to your drive time
- Be on the Lookout – Road signs and work zone flaggers may change daily, keep your eyes open and be alert while driving
- Do Not Speed – Obey the posted speed limit signs, speeding fines are often doubled in active construction zones
- Stay in Your Lane – As tempting as it is to weave through traffic, it ultimately won’t save you time and instead causes a dangerous situation for everyone
- Expect the Unexpected – Stay alert and avoid distractions, work zones are a dynamic environment and workers and their equipment may catch you off guard
- Turn on Your Headlights – Keep your headlights on when driving in a work zone so workers can see you
- Check 511 – Get real-time traffic information by visiting www.fl511.com or by dialing 511 on your phone
Car Accident Lawyers in Orlando
Construction and traffic backups can increase the risk of being in a car wreck. Car accidents can be scary, stressful, and frustrating and injury lawyers at Burnetti, P.A. do not want you to have to face the aftermath alone. The law offices of Burnetti, P.A. are proud to handle Orlando car accident claims based on a contingency fee basis, which means that there are no upfront costs and the injured party does not pay any fees unless compensation is obtained. If you would like a free case evaluation, call 1-888-BURNETTI or fill out a free case consultation form at burnetti2.wpengine.com.