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Parking lot, ramp closures

The I-4 Ultimate project is kicking into high gear with two permanent ramp closures and a parking lot closure in the City of Orlando.

Two ramps on eastbound Interstate 4 (I-4) — exit ramp to Ivanhoe Boulevard and entrance ramp from South Street — are closing permanently. The exit ramp to Ivanhoe Boulevard from eastbound I-4 closed on June 21. The South Street on-ramp to eastbound I-4 is scheduled to close on the night of Tuesday, July 7. Parking lot 9A in downtown Orlando, near the intersection of Church and Pine streets is also scheduled to be closed the night of July 7.

Alternate routes for the Ivanhoe Boulevard exit include Princeton Street (Exit 85) and Amelia Street (Exit 83A). The Ivanhoe Boulevard eastbound entrance ramp to I-4 and westbound I-4 exit ramp will remain open.

Alternate routes for the South Street on-ramp include the eastbound I-4 entrance ramps at Anderson Street and near the intersection of Garland Avenue and Concord Street. The permanent ramp closure of the South Street entrance ramp is necessary for the reconstruction of the I-4 interchange at State Road 408, among one of Florida’s most heavily traveled areas.

In addition to detour signs and variable message boards in the areas, information on ramp closures is included in weekly construction alerts sent to more than 6,400 motorists who have signed up for the service online.

Landscaping the I-4 Ultimate Project

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is investing in new landscaping for environmental and aesthetic purposes all along the I-4 Ultimate project. More than 14,500 trees will be planted in concert with native shrubs and grasses to create a signature corridor in an important region.

These new plants, according to the preliminary design, can include:

  • Palms (such as Silver Bismark Palm and Canary Island Date Palm)
  • Canopy trees (such as Live Oak, Red Oak and Pignut Hickory)
  • Flowering trees (such as Dogwood, Muskogee Crape Myrtle and Great Southern Magnolia)
  • Transitional wetland trees (such as Florida Flame Red Myrtle and Bald Cypress)
  • Buffer trees (such as Southern Red Cedar and Maki Yew Pine).

The final mixture of species is subject to change and several other similar choices are approved for use.More than $28 million of the total $2.3 billion project will be spent on landscaping for the 21-mile project. The plans also call for about 40,000 native shrubs and grasses to be planted along with the new trees.

The plants will represent a diversity of species well adapted to the Sunshine State and that, for the most part, are low maintenance. The plant life will also provide a sense of place and a visual appeal that travelers will recognize as distinctively Floridian.

The contractors are doing their best to preserve trees while building the highest quality roadway and drainage systems. However, the loss of some trees is unavoidable, especially areas where stormwater retention and underground exfiltration drainage facilities need to be placed. These environmentally beneficial systems prevent stormwater runoff from discharging into local lakes. Drainage systems can be impacted by the roots of large plantings. For this reason, landscaping will only be installed where damage to any of the drainage systems can be avoided. Landscaping occurs in later phases of construction to avoid harm to the plants.

I-4 Ultimate is meeting FDOT’s Bold Vision for Florida’s Highway Beautification and creating a signature corridor. Every effort will be made to incorporate new and existing landscaping, where appropriate, into the bold vision.

People Building a Better I-4:
Area 3 Project Manager Chris DuBois

I-4 Ultimate will create thousands of jobs in Central Florida. This video series explores the people and expertise needed to build a better I-4. In this month’s installment, we talk with Area 3 Manager for SGL Constructors, Chris DuBois. As the construction manager in the Ivanhoe area, DuBois says he finds the construction industry rewarding as you can take pride in the finished product. The I-4 Ultimate project adds another level of excitement as it will be a signature corridor for Central Florida.

Innovative Truck Helps Keep Workers Safe

A remarkable truck, designed by members of the I-4 Ultimate team, will help to keep workers and motorists safe during the massive revamping of Interstate 4 through Central Florida.

Known officially as an attenuator truck, this specially designed vehicle is actually several vehicles rolled into one. It can haul an equipment trailer. And it can provide a safe platform for workers who put down or pick up traffic cones. An intercom system allows the driver to communicate with those workers in the back.

The multifaceted truck also has cameras, so the driver can monitor traffic flow and keep a watchful eye on crew members to make sure they remain safe. The cameras and safely mounted display screens allow the driver to monitor nearby vehicles and people without having to turn around.

In addition, the "Scorpion" truck can create a crash protection zone with the attenuator device attached to the rear of the vehicle. The approximately 13-foot-long attenuator is essentially a giant shock-absorbing device that collapses inward to absorb the impact of another vehicle.

The attenuator can perform that protective function while parked behind workers. It also can perform that function while driving on the highway, especially when traffic is moving slowly and a distracted driver might be coming up from behind too fast to slow down. Instead of hitting an unprotected car, the speeding vehicle’s impact can be absorbed by the attenuator.

The truck’s general concept was the inspiration of two employees of SGL Constructors – part of the I-4 Ultimate team. SGL appears to be the first group to design all of this versatility into one truck. David Feise, the project’s Maintenance of Traffic Manager and Steve Matthews, the project’s Deputy Equipment Manager, combined their knowledge of what’s needed for I-4 Ultimate work and what’s available on the market to help design the special truck.

It must fulfill a larger need, too, as other construction companies are asking to use the design for their projects.

Trucking Association Leads Way in I-4 Safety


Even before major changes are noticeable on the I-4 Ultimate project, thousands of professional truckers already are preparing to drive with extra caution and think about alternate routes.

As part of the Florida Trucking Association’s ongoing efforts to keep members and motorists safe, the group is tweeting messages and posting information on its Facebook site to keep drivers and fleet managers updated on changes coming to the 21-mile stretch of Interstate 4 (I-4).

“Safety and efficiency go hand and hand for professional drivers and for all of us,” said Marcela Romero, who handles communications for the association. “We are reminding our members that things are changing on I-4. If you need to plan alternate routes or different schedules, we want you to be aware before you hit the road.”

Romero said members of her group are hungry for any information that prepares them for their routes. “Knowing what lies ahead is key to keeping companies moving and people safe,” she said.

Florida Trucking Association’s membership includes companies with about 25,000 vehicles. That includes 135 trucking companies with fleets ranging from a handful of vehicles to several hundred trucks and another 150 companies that are considered “suppliers.” That refers to businesses that move their own products with their own vehicles, but do not hire out to haul goods or materials for others.

Maitland community informed of I-4 Ultimate project

Two public meetings in the Maitland community this past month have helped to inform residents and businesses of the I-4 Ultimate project.

Nearly 600 interested individuals attended a construction kick-off open house on May 28 at the RDV Sportsplex. The I-4 Ultimate project team spoke to residents from Maitland, as well as the nearby communities of Altamonte Springs, Apopka and Longwood, about the major improvements planned for the Interstate 4 (I-4) corridor. Some of the major changes for the area include elevating Maitland Boulevard over Lake Destiny Road, Keller Road and Maitland Summit Boulevard, constructing a pedestrian bridge over I-4 at the Maitland interchange, and reconfiguring the State Road 436 interchange to a single-point diamond interchange.

Following up the May 28 event, team members from I-4 Ultimate project attended a separate FDOT public meeting for a nearby construction project to widen Maitland Boulevard from east of I-4 to east of Maitland Avenue. Representatives spoke to more than 100 individuals regarding the Maitland interchange at I-4 and planned improvements on Maitland Boulevard that will complement the widening project.

The I-4 Ultimate project team is planning its next construction kick-off open house in the area of Winter Park and College Park. Keep up to date on upcoming open public events for the I-4 Ultimate project by visiting and signing up for alerts.

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).