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I-4 Ultimate Will Transform Central Florida

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has major changes planned for Interstate 4, Central Florida’s backbone of transportation, that are anticipated to begin in the late fall. As the I-4 Ultimate transformation progresses along a 21-mile stretch from Kirkman Road to State Road 434, the face of Central Florida will receive a remarkable makeover.

Built in the 1960s, I-4 now far exceeds its capacity with more than 1.5 million trips daily in Central Florida and, as a result, traffic congestion has become a major problem. According to the Texas Transportation Institute’s 2012 Urban Mobility Report, Orlando is ranked number 13 in the country for traffic congestion. The report also indicates that 45 hours annually are being wasted in traffic congestion per commuter, accounting for an annual congestion cost of $984 per commuter traveling by automobile. Improvement projects over the past few decades have provided some relief, including the reconstruction of interchanges, widening of the roadway and construction of additional lanes. With the region’s growing resident and tourist populations, much more is needed.

4-Express logoThe I-4 Ultimate project will improve the overall flow of the corridor in a radical way. More than 75 bridges will be replaced, 15 major interchanges will undergo complete reconstruction and two new Express Lanes in each direction will be added in the center of the corridor. To provide more reliable travel times for motorists, the four tolled Express Lanes will be separated by a concrete barrier from the General Use Lanes, in addition to being a truck-free zone, and provide variable toll pricing based on the level of congestion.

The I-4 project is similar to the $1.2 billion I-595 Express Corridor Improvements Project nearing completion in South Florida. Instead of I-595’s reversible Express Lanes, I-4’s will run in both directions at all times throughout the day. For more information on the I-595 project, please visit

FDOT currently has short-listed four proposer teams to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the I-4 Ultimate public-private partnership (P3) project. Basing its selection on the review of technical and financial proposals each team submitted, FDOT is planning to announce who the apparent best value proposer will be on April 23. The design and construction for the 21-mile project is expected to cost an estimated $2.1 billion.

The I-4 Beyond the Ultimate Project Development and Environmental Reevaluation Study is currently underway to provide similar improvements to an additional 40 miles of I-4 in Central Florida east and west of the I-4 Ultimate project area. More information about the I-4 Ultimate transformation project can be found at You can see the future of I-4 in the video below.

People Building a Better I-4:
FDOT Public Information Manager Steve Olson

Steve Olson is the Public Information Manager of the Florida Department of Transportation in Central Florida. He started out in broadcasting and you may see him often on television newscasts and quoted in the newspaper explaining FDOT projects. Steve is the person the media calls about I-4 Ultimate. Steve explains in his own words more about his role in building a better I-4.

Road Building 101

The Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) I-4 Ultimate project is teaming up with engineering magnet program high schools Edgewater and Lyman to give engineering students a firsthand look at how scientific principles apply to road construction.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for our kids,” said Lanny Wood, The Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Program Director at Edgewater High School. PLTW is a national education program delivering science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs to more than 5,000 schools nationwide. An architect, Wood traded in his drafting table and slide rule for textbooks and lesson plans.

“Our curriculum mirrors the engineering concepts that students wouldn’t otherwise begin to explore until their first or second year in college,” remarked Wood. “Being able to partner with the I-4 project gives our students a leg up as they further their educational careers.”

Beginning fall 2014, I-4 Ultimate project leaders will step into the classroom engaging and connecting with students, providing them the opportunity to follow this historic project throughout their time in high school.

“We really wanted to open their eyes to what this type of engineering is all about,” said FDOT I-4 Ultimate Construction Program Manager Loreen Bobo. “We all use and see the benefits of civil engineering projects every day.” Bobo, a second-generation engineer, credits exposure to her father’s career at a young age with leading her to follow his footsteps into engineering. “If he hadn’t been that influence, who knows where I would’ve ended up,” she quipped.

The I-4 Ultimate in-school civil engineering outreach program will expand to include other area schools over the next six years. FDOT first began reaching out to teenagers through the Construction Career Days ( program in 1999. More than 1,700 high school students from 40 area schools attended this year’s Central Florida event in late January. Students got up close and personal with various learning labs, occupational demonstrations and even a heavy equipment area where they could test drive equipment used to build our highways.

“Construction Career Days is a great program that reaches a lot of students in a short amount of time. We want the in-school civil engineering program to dig deeper, get more specific and really help students understand why we build projects the way we do,” Bobo added.

The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates a 17 percent growth in STEM jobs by 2018. Partnering programs like PLTW, with hands-on opportunities like I-4 Ultimate, encourage students to gravitate toward the kinds of high-tech careers projected to increase in demand over the coming years.

“Project-based learning produces critical thinkers and problem solvers,” added Wood. “That is a skill that is going to take them, and ultimately our country, to unmeasurable success.”

The I-4 Ultimate project aims to build not only a better interstate in Central Florida today, but also a pipeline into the leaders and designers of tomorrow.

I-4 Beyond the Ultimate Will Extend Express Lanes Nearly 40 Miles

With everything for the I-4 Ultimate improvement project moving forward as planned, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is approaching a decision in determining which proposer team will be chosen to reconstruct the 21 miles of Interstate 4 from Kirkman Road in Orange County to State Road 434 in Seminole County. An announcement is planned for April 23.

In addition to the 21-mile transformation beginning later this year, the I-4 Beyond the Ultimate Project Development and Environmental Reevaluation Study is currently in the works to provide similar solutions for traffic congestion east and west of the I-4 Ultimate project area. One 17-mile segment stretches from U.S. 27 in Polk County east to Kirkman Road in Orange County. Another 19-mile segment stretches from State Road 434 in Seminole County east to State Road 472 in Volusia County.

A public meeting for this study was recently held on March 20, which discussed planned improvements for the nine-mile segment of I-4 in Seminole County from State Road 434 to east of U.S. 17-92. This was an opportunity for members of the public to talk with the FDOT project team and learn more about the location, conceptual design and social, economic and environmental effects of the proposed improvements. An upcoming public meeting for the 10-mile segment of I-4 from east of U.S. 17-92 to east of State Road 472 will soon be scheduled. To learn more, please visit