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REMINDER: I-4 Ultimate project hosting public information open house
from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, February 9, at the Hilton Orlando/Altamonte Springs.

New Construction Closures Set to
Begin this Month

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Motorists should remain alert for new areas of construction and closures later this month, as the I-4 Ultimate improvement project progresses along the 21-mile Interstate 4 (I-4) corridor in Orange and Seminole counties.

Work to prepare for the new interchange at I-4 and State Road (S.R.) 408 is continuing along S.R. 408 from Tampa Avenue to Rosalind Avenue. To make room for new ramps to and from I-4 and S.R. 408, workers must widen S.R. 408. Construction crews are scheduled to start widening the S.R. 408 bridge over Orange Avenue at the end of this month.

That work will require a two-week closure of Orange Avenue every night (except Saturday night) from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. The start time of the closure may be delayed to accommodate traffic from downtown Orlando events. The recommended detour for this closure will be West Lucerne Circle, which is expected to reopen later this month.

Also scheduled to occur at the end of this month is a continuous weekend closure of Maitland Summit Boulevard at Maitland Boulevard (S.R. 414). In addition to reconstructing the Maitland Boulevard interchange, the I-4 Ultimate project is remaking parts of Maitland Boulevard. West of the interchange, the project is elevating Maitland Boulevard, adding ramp access points and eliminating select traffic signals to promote better traffic flow.

After several traffic shifts on eastbound and westbound Maitland Boulevard in 2016, a significant construction area was opened to allow work crews to begin building the new elevated westbound Maitland Boulevard. The continuous weekend closure of Maitland Summit Boulevard will allow crews to safely place the steel girders for the westbound Maitland Boulevard bridge overpass. The recommended detour for this closure is Keller Road.

To make room for equipment needed to build new bridges for eastbound I-4, the left lane of Garland Avenue between South Street and Central Boulevard will close in late February.

The exact dates of these closures will be available on Information on closures and traffic shifts is included in I-4 Ultimate’s Advanced Construction Alert System. Sign up to receive construction alerts by text or email at

Construction Career Days Draws
Thousands of Students

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Nearly 3,000 Central Florida junior and senior high school students started paving the way toward their careers in late January at the 17th annual Central Florida Construction Career Days (CCD). The yearly event, hosted by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and its industry partners, helps teenagers explore some foundations that could be used to build a successful future in transportation construction.

“Construction Career Days is wonderful opportunity for students curious about a career in construction,” said Loreen Bobo, P.E., I-4 Ultimate Construction Program Manager and past CCD chairperson. “We want to prepare the builders of tomorrow for ambitious projects such as the I-4 Ultimate project.”

Junior and senior high school students from more than 50 Central Florida high schools attended the two-day event. Engineers and skilled trade workers from local firms, technical schools and FDOT held 38 interactive learning labs. Students even had a chance to try their hand at operating heavy equipment and virtual reality simulators.

Chase Jenkinson, a junior from Lake Weir High School in Marion County, enjoyed trading the seat of his desk for the seat of a front-end loader on the first day of CCD.

“I really wanted to learn about all these different trades,” he said. “I had a great time, even though I dumped some dirt on myself. It was harder to operate than I had thought, but that’s why we’re here – to learn.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the number of jobs in the construction field will grow by nearly 21 percent over the next few years, but the current labor pool is shrinking with the average skilled worker retiring at close to 50 years old. That’s why Construction Career Days encourages Central Florida teens to explore the transportation construction industries.

Construction opportunities represented through the program are not minimum wage jobs. “Those in the field earn an average of $18 an hour,” said Geoff Scales, Senior Project Manager with Cardno, an environmental engineering firm, and co-chair of the event. “These are careers that you can grow with. If you have the drive and the ambition, a career in construction can take you far.”

Students who attended this year’s event are encouraged to apply for a $1,000 scholarship through CCD.

The Big Machines of I-4 Ultimate:
Liebherr Crane

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Height: 200 feet at top of the lifting arm – about the size of a giant redwood tree or twice the size of the Statue of Liberty from head to heel.

Weight: 368,000 pounds or 184 tons

Lifting Power: 400,000 pounds – the equivalent of lifting 140 Toyota Corollas or 2,200 adult humans.

Typical Tasks: Holding pile-driving hammers and hoisting heavy material such as bridge beams.

Standing as tall as giant redwood trees, the yellow Liebherr cranes stretch high above cars and trucks passing by on the interstate – a reminder of the powerful tools and skilled workers required by the I-4 Ultimate reconstruction project.

The tallest of the Liebherr cranes used on the I-4 Ultimate project would reach at least 15 stories high. Immensely powerful, it can hoist as much as 400,000 pounds – the equivalent of lifting 140 Toyota Corollas at once.

The towering cranes perform several tasks. They lift enormous steel beams – some weighing up to 160 tons – needed to build new bridges along the 21-mile reconstruction project. The cranes also lift and place the 100-foot-long steel piles that must be driven underground to support bridges and ramps. Moreover, they hold the powerful hammers that do the pile driving.

The Liebherr cranes also raise 15,000-pound buckets of concrete to pour into the giant molds that eventually form piers – those thick structures that hold up elevated roadways and ramps.

The cranes come with top-notch safety features and environmental ratings. Alerts are programmed into the cranes’ electronic controls to warn operators if the machine is approaching lift and swing limits. Those are based on the height and angle of the boom and the weight of the load, said Phil Picone, who is Project Equipment Manager for SGL – the joint venture of Skanska, Granite, Lane on the I-4 Ultimate project.

The machine also has sensors to calculate wind resistance and will shut down when winds reach 30 mph. Cameras let the operator see to the sides and rear, as well as giving a view of the winding and unwinding cable along the boom. The cranes are equipped with lightning rods and are grounded for protection in storms.

Air-conditioned, the cranes include an option allowing the operator to use a small auxiliary engine to cool the cab, instead of adding hours of wear and tear to the main engine while idling. The Liebherr cranes also comply with Tier 4 emissions standards — currently the highest standard set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

New HD Cameras Give Live Look at
I-4 Construction

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Two new live high-definition I-4 Ultimate construction cameras are now available for viewing.

In January, cameras were placed at the Maitland Boulevard (State Road 414) and Interstate 4 (I-4) interchange, and at the Kirkman Road and I-4 interchange. View video streams from the new cameras at, or by visiting the I-4 Ultimate website and clicking on “Florida 511 & Live Traffic.”

The Maitland camera, situated in the Southwest quadrant of the interchange, is tracking construction progress at the interchange and of the new pedestrian bridge, which construction is slated to begin this year.

The Kirkman camera is situated high above the International Drive area atop the SkyCoaster at Fun Spot America. It gives users a view of the interchange construction and the new Grand National Drive overpass.

The two cameras join the existing camera that monitors the State Road 408 and I-4 interchange construction in downtown Orlando.

Employee Spotlight: Andrew Melton

Maintenance of Traffic, Superintendent II
Hometown: West Palm Beach
Resides: Clermont

Employee Spotlight photo “A monumental project.”

Keeping traffic moving safely during the I-4 Ultimate reconstruction project is the job of Andrew Melton and the entire Maintenance of Traffic (MOT) team.

Along the 21-mile project, traffic barriers must go up to keep motorists and workers safe, and lanes must close or shift to create safe work zones while improving the roadway. At times, long stretches of interstate must slowdown for rolling roadblocks to make room for cranes and bridge construction.  

Melton, who is a Superintendent II, and his group have major responsibility to make sure everything goes safely and smoothly on the eastern half of the project from near Colonial Drive in Orlando to E.E. Williamson Road in Longwood. His group, of course, coordinates with the rest of the MOT team to handle the 15 to 25 overnight lane closures and with law enforcement when patrol cars are needed for safety.

Melton loves the challenge of managing the complex, moving puzzle. “I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment when you complete a complicated traffic movement without an incident, within budget and on time. You do not get opportunities like this every day to be part of such a monumental project.”

Melton, who grew up in West Palm Beach, developed his skills while working on I-595 Express project in South Florida. He learned that MOT teams must realize that longtime residents are not used to dealing with ongoing changes to their routes. “We have to remember that some people have been driving these lanes by habit for 20, 30 and even 40 years,” said Melton, who works for SGL – the construction joint venture of Skanska, Granite and Lane.

So, when temporary barrier walls go up or come down, when traffic cones are placed or retrieved, when traffic patterns shift, when portable electronic signs move or their messages change, the team makes sure the changes are easy to follow and don’t frustrate drivers.

Away from the interstate, Melton relaxes by fishing or riding four-wheelers on dirt roads and paths. “Sometimes, I like a break from traffic, too.”

Public participation is solicited without regard to race, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, disability or family status. Persons who require special accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act or persons who require translation services (free of charge) should contact Jennifer Smith, FDOT Title VI Coordinator by phone at (386) 943-5367, or via email at If you are hearing or speech impaired, please contact us by using the Florida Relay Service, 1-800-955-8771 (TDD) or 1-800-955-8770 (Voice).