I-4 Beyond The Ultimate

January 2018

* Beyond the Ultimate: Building a Path to the Future
* Innovative Intersection to be Built at Rinehart Road and CR 46A
* Move Over Month Reminds Motorists of Need to Protect Emergency Workers

Beyond the Ultimate:
Building a Path to the Future

By now, most of Central Florida probably has heard of the I-4 Ultimate project – the effort to reconstruct 21 miles of Interstate 4 (I-4), including the portion that runs through downtown Orlando.

But another project called Beyond the Ultimate (BtU) may seem completely new to many residents and motorists. However, this 40-mile project, which will become better known during the next few months, actually has been in development for several years. One segment, at least, is expected to start construction in 2020.

For the average driver, who is not yet familiar with BtU, it might be easiest to think of BtU as an extension of the massive I-4 Ultimate Project. BtU extends the eastern endpoint of the managed lanes another 20 miles and also adds 20 miles to its western endpoint.

With a goal of improving safety, mobility and connectivity in Central Florida, the BtU project is a complex undertaking that is expected to rebuild and improve 40 miles of Interstate 4. When complete, it will cover twice the length of the current I-4 Ultimate project.

Both BtU and I-4 Ultimate will improve pavement, ramps and interchanges, and both projects will maintain the current six non-tolled lanes while adding four dynamic tolled Express Lanes (two in each direction). The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) oversees both projects.

“Beyond the Ultimate will bring improved safety and mobility to Central Florida and will help increase connectivity between communities,” said FDOT Project Manager Beata Stys-Palasz, P.E., who is leading the BtU project. “We are very excited to see some of the segments moving closer to construction so that residents and motorists can reap these benefits.”

While state and federal funding has been designated for several sections, the area closest to a construction date is Segment 2, which is a 3.6-mile section that runs between Central Florida Parkway and Kirkman Road (S.R. 435). That work may start in early 2020.

The BtU project is divided into six design segments. Each must undergo a stringent, multi-step process that includes planning, environmental study, preliminary design, right-of-way considerations, design and construction. While the sections stand at different points in the overall process, the Development and Environment (PD&E) Reevaluation Study has been finalized for the entire project.

In more detailed terms, BtU extends about 20 miles beyond the eastern end of I-4 Ultimate (stretching from S.R. 434 in Seminole County to just east of S.R. 472 in Volusia County). On the western end, BtU will run about 20 miles from west of Kirkman Road in Orange County through part of Osceola County to just west of the U.S. Highway 27 interchange in Polk County.


Innovative Intersection to be Built at Rinehart Road and CR 46A

A first-of-its-kind intersection is slated for construction at Rinehart Road and H.E. Thomas Jr. Parkway (County Road (C.R.) 46A). New to Central Florida, the intersection will help make traffic flow more smoothly and safely in the area near Interstate 4 in Seminole County.

Known as a mid-block U-turn, the innovative form of traffic management will be a first for the region. After it is built, motorists at the busy intersection will no longer need to make left turns across oncoming traffic. It also will eliminate the left-hand turning arrow on a traffic signal. Instead, motorists will use signalized U-turns on Rinehart Road to head in their desired direction.

Learn more about the mid-block U-turn at a public meeting scheduled for Thursday, March 8, at the Orlando Marriott Lake Mary, located at 1501 International Parkway in Lake Mary. The meeting is an open-house format so participants can visit any time between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

Although the intersection is not part of the I-4 interchange, it is nearby and considered vital to the overall traffic flow of the I-4 interchange. Because of that, it is included in the state’s Beyond the Ultimate reconstruction project.

Seminole County and the City of Lake Mary consider the change so essential that both governments are advancing the funds needed for this part of the I-4 BtU project to start construction in 2018. The state will then reimburse the local governments in 2026. Improvements to this intersection are essential to proper operation of the interchange with I-4.

FDOT and the local governments also looked at the possibility of creating a single-point urban interchange there. That form was chosen for the reconfiguration of the Colonial Drive (State Road 50) and I-4 interchange in downtown Orlando.

But traffic-flow experts and local officials decided that the mid-block U-turn would work best to reduce the time required to go through the intersection, improve pedestrian safety, and limit the impact of construction as well as the effect on the visibility of property around the intersection.

A public meeting about the changes is being scheduled for March and more information and notices of the event will be publicized as details are finalized. The new intersection will be located partially in the City of Lake Mary and the City of Sanford


Move Over Month Reminds Motorists of Need to Protect Emergency Workers

Move Over, Florida. It’s the law.

That’s the reminder that Florida wants to send all drivers about the state’s Move Over law designed to keep emergency and service workers safe. In 2017, there were 212 crashes that occurred and almost 17,000 citations issued for failure to move over in Florida, according to preliminary data.

“The Move Over Law protects those who work on the side of the roadway each day and ensures that they make it home safely to their families,” said Terry L. Rhodes, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). “Law enforcement, first responders, service and utility vehicles provide critical services to motorists in one of the most dangerous work environments. It is imperative that motorists abide by the law and move over or slow down for these brave professionals so that they can do their job and Arrive Alive.”

State law requires vehicles to move over a lane for law enforcement or emergency vehicles, sanitation vehicles, utility service vehicles, Road Rangers or wreckers. If a driver cannot move over, they must slow down 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit.

“We are committed to improving public awareness of highway safety by educating all road users on sharing the road. We all need to do our part to keep our roadways safe and reduce crashes – Move Over and save a life,” said Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Secretary Mike Dew

The DHSMV reminds all drivers that to comply with the Move Over law while driving on a multi-lane roadway, they must:

  • Vacate the lane closest to the stationary emergency vehicle, sanitation vehicle, utility service vehicle or wrecker and always signal the intention to change lanes.
  • Slow down to a speed of 20 mph below the posted speed limit, if a driver cannot move over safely.
  • Be prepared to allow those who are attempting to move over into the next lane.

On a two-lane roadway, drivers must:

  • Slow down to a speed of 20 mph below the posted speed limit.
  • Travel at 5 mph, if the speed limit is 20 mph or less.

“Florida’s Move Over law was enacted to protect those trying to protect Florida’s motorists,” said Colonel Gene Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “Abide by the Move Over law and help us protect our emergency personnel and their families.”

DHSMV and FHP are partnering with the Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Sheriffs Association, Florida Department of Transportation and AAA – The Auto Club Group to ensure all law enforcement, first responders, service and utility workers and Road Rangers are safe in 2018.