The goal of the I-4 Ultimate project is to create a signature corridor that connects communities, improves economies and enhances livability throughout the region. I-4 Ultimate is designed to improve the function of I-4 and highlight Central Florida’s rich history, community character and beautiful landscaping. Explore this section of the website to learn more about how this distinct and memorable design will reinforce mobility, enhance the driver’s experience, engage communities and maximize accessibility.
The I-4 Ultimate project is transforming Central Florida. Easing congestion is one of the primary goals of the project, but there are plenty of other exciting elements of the project:
- Four new tolled Express Lanes (two in each direction)
- Thirteen widened bridges, 74 replaced bridges and 53 new bridges
- Accent lighting
- Illuminated fountains
- Bold landscape design
- Inclusion of more native plant species
- Monumental direct-connect pylons
- Enhanced bridge architecture
- Concrete paving
- Steel tub girders
- Architectural cladding
FDOT is making great gains in technological advancements and is raising the standard for how other state departments of transportation generate new and better value for every transportation dollar invested. The I-4 Ultimate project is no exception. FDOT demanded innovation, and I-4 Mobility Partners delivered, offering 25 approved alternative technical concepts (innovative ideas) and 27 project technical enhancements (enhanced features).
Alternative technical concepts are proposed changes to basic configurations, the project scope, design criteria or construction criteria and provide an approach that is equal to or better than the requirements requested by FDOT. For I-4 Ultimate, I-4 Mobility Partners’ alternative technical concepts focus on:
- Providing greater traffic flow reliability with auxiliary lanes and added movements
- Providing greater consistency in driver expectancy and reduced travel times
- Enhancing driver safety with sight distance improvements and alignments
- Providing better community connections
- Incorporating sustainability features, such as reutilized and recycled materials
- Using better technology to improve long-term operations
I-4/State Road 408 Interchange
A key innovation is the direct connection from the Express Lanes to State Road 408. Required by FDOT, this design feature also provides a direct connection with improved access at South Street. The direct connection does not add another level to the interchange, thereby providing safer construction and maintenance.
Kirkman Road Pedestrian Bridge
This value-added concept provides a pedestrian bridge from various hotels to Universal Studios across Kirkman Road. While this structure will significantly improve pedestrian safety in this busy area, it will also improve traffic operations at the Kirkman interchange because the pedestrian traffic signal may be eliminated.
Maitland Boulevard with Maitland Summit Interchange
I-4 Mobility Partners’ design incorporates an interchange at Maitland Boulevard and Maitland Summit — an area experiencing heavy commuter traffic during morning and evening peak hours. The new interchange will tie into Keller Road, greatly improving the amount of traffic through Maitland Boulevard and reducing delays.
Orange Blossom Trail Interchange
Orange Blossom Trail will become a right-hand exit, and I-4 Mobility Partners further optimized the design by realigning the westbound I-4 exit ramp to sweep further away from the mainline before crossing Orange Blossom Trail. Benefits include reduced noise impacts and a lowered mainline profile.
Michigan-Kaley will become a dual interchange with interconnected ramps, helping to improve travel time and travel delay. At Kaley Avenue, dual right-turn lanes were added from the eastbound exit ramp. The new design will provide significant long-term maintenance and rehabilitation cost savings and even avoid bridge work at the relic sinkhole in Lake Angel.
Additional innovative project features include:
- 11-foot-wide lanes on arterials, including State Road 50 (Colonial Drive), State Road 438 (Princeton Street) and State Road 426 (Fairbanks Avenue)
- Additional auxiliary lanes on eastbound I-4 at Princeton Street to Fairbanks Avenue and an additional auxiliary lane on westbound I-4 at Maitland Boulevard to Lee Road, westbound I-4 at Orange Blossom Trail to Conroy Road and eastbound I-4 at Colonial Drive to Princeton Street
- The use of recycled materials, including existing concrete and limerock, for environmentally friendly design and construction
- The use of edge beams with deck form curbs, which eliminate the overhang portion of the bridge deck
- Installation of maturity meters, which help determine the amount of time needed before the roadway can be used by traffic
- Reconfiguration of the Wymore-Riddle Overpass to improve stopping sight distance (the distance a driver needs to be able to see to have enough room to stop before colliding with an object) and provide enhanced traffic movements
- Formosa Curve stopping sight distance improvements by realigning I-4 and using the median opening at the previous toll gantry location
- Keeping pipes less than 15 years old in place to reduce construction time
- Elimination of the median rail corridor from Central Parkway to EE Williamson Road to improve safety
- Intelligent transportation systems (ITS) operational improvements, including upgrades to high definition CCTV, the use of toll buildings for ITS hubs and the use of toll gantry generators for ITS
- Division-Kaley intersection improvements, including dual right-turn lanes from eastbound Kaley Avenue to Division Avenue and dual left-turn lanes from southbound Division Avenue to Kaley Avenue
- Maintaining the existing Garland Avenue alignment to improve sight distances and pedestrian flow
- Lee Road lane revision that provides an additional left-turn lane to the eastbound I-4 entrance ramp
- State Road 408 westbound reconfiguration that creates improved traffic flow and increases aesthetics
The I-4 Ultimate project may include construction of sound barriers to help reduce sound between the interstate and adjacent neighborhoods. Many factors determine sound barrier locations. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) conducted multiple noise studies for the 21-mile I-4 project. Currently, eight locations in Orange and Seminole counties are eligible for sound barriers. A majority of property owners adjacent to the proposed barriers indicated their support for them when surveyed by FDOT. Based upon the completed noise studies, construction of sound barriers is considered for eight residential communities adjacent to I-4.
When is a Noise Study Needed?
A noise study is required when:
- A new highway alignment is built.
- The number of through traffic lanes is increased.
I-4 Ultimate adds new Express Lanes and completely rebuilds the existing general use lanes. The Orange and Seminole counties’ I-4 noise studies used the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) traffic noise model to predict future traffic noise increases with the expansion of I-4. Areas predicted to experience future noise levels of 66 decibels or more have been evaluated for feasibility and cost reasonableness. More analysis is done during design.
What Are Sound Barriers?
Sound barriers are solid obstructions built between the highway and homes along a highway. They do not completely block all noise. They only reduce overall noise levels. Sound barriers are not built to block views of traffic from homes.
What Will a Sound Barrier Do?
A sound barrier can noticeably reduce traffic noise at homes located within 200 feet of a wall. This area adjacent to the wall is referred to as the “noise reduction zone,” as shown above. The goal of the barrier is to reduce noise by five to ten decibels. The amount of noise reduction depends on:
- Distance of the property from the barrier
- Distance of the noise source from the barrier
- Length and height of a barrier
- Elevation differences among the road, barrier and residences
Both FHWA and FDOT require that a sound barrier reduce traffic noise by at least five decibels to be considered feasible. Another FDOT requirement is that the cost per property to build a sound barrier is $42,000 or less. Meeting this requirement makes it cost reasonable. If a sound barrier is determined to be both feasible and cost reasonable, the property owners that would benefit from the barrier are asked to provide input on the proposed barrier.
To learn more about the sound barriers associated with I-4 Ultimate, please review the materials below.
Central Florida has a rich history, as demonstrated by hundreds of buildings, districts and sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Several of these places are within the project limits of I-4 Ultimate, including the town of Eatonville, Griffin Park and the Holden-Parramore Historic District. Historic preservation is a priority of the I-4 Ultimate project.
The town of Eatonville was the first incorporated African-American town in the United States and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on February 3, 1998. Founded in 1887, the town has been continuously governed by persons of African-American descent, and the main road — Kennedy Boulevard — once served as a wagon trail. Key landscape and historic features will be integrated into the bridge design at Kennedy Boulevard to honor historic Eatonville.
An interchange redesign at I-4 and State Road 408 lessens the project’s impact on two additional historic resources: Griffin Park and the Holden-Parramore Historic District. Griffin Park, added to the National Register of Historic Places on July 18, 1996, opened in 1940 as the city of Orlando’s first affordable housing project for impoverished African-Americans. The Holden-Parramore neighborhood once served as the segregated African-American section of the city, and several buildings in the area are illustrative of intact historic housing. The Holden-Parramore area was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 23, 2009.
Although final design is not yet complete, current plans relocate the ramp from the 408 to westbound I-4 and the ramps from I-4 to westbound 408 to the east side of the Griffin Park apartments. Doing so opens the area under the current ramps to allow for green space or a stormwater retention pond. The planned design will restore the physical cohesiveness to the neighborhood that was lost during the original construction of I-4.
Once I-4 Ultimate is complete, the corridor will be a celebration of local heritage and will serve as a reminder of what makes Central Florida unique.