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APRIL 2016

Bridge Work Begins in 3 Areas

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At the heart of the I-4 Ultimate construction project is bridge work with 140 of them to be widened, added or replaced in the 21-mile project limits.

Upcoming nighttime road closures on Kaley Avenue, Fairbanks Avenue and Amelia Street are the result of beginning bridge work in these areas:

  • Kaley Avenue — A nighttime closure of Kaley Avenue under Interstate 4 (I-4) is scheduled to begin April 25 between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. The main route for this four-week, nighttime detour is Michigan Street.
  • Fairbanks Avenue — Fairbanks Avenue, under I-4, is scheduled to close beginning April 25 Between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. The Fairbanks Avenue four-week, nighttime closure will begin with all eastbound lanes closed with one lane open westbound. After two weeks, the closure will flip with all westbound lanes closed and one eastbound lane open. The main route for this nighttime detour is Lee Road (State Road 423).
  • Amelia Street — A nightly closure of Amelia Street is planned under I-4 to begin on April 24 from 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. The main route for this six-week, nighttime detour is either Livingston Street to the south or Colonial Drive (State Road 50) to the north.

These closures will typically begin each week on Sunday at 10 p.m. and continue each weekday night ending at 6 a.m. on Friday. If needed, these closures may occur on weekends.

All closures are subject to change due to construction progress, roadway conditions and weather. For up-to-date information on all lane, ramp and road closures, sign up to receive I-4 Ultimate Advanced Construction Alerts by text or email at

Safety Week Reminds Motorists to Drive Carefully

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Drivers must always be cautious while driving, but especially in construction areas.

National Work Zone Awareness Week began April 11, and those driving through the I-4 Ultimate project (from west of Kirkman Road to east of State Road 434) are reminded to drive carefully.

In work zones, speed limits may be decreased, lanes may be closed, narrowed or shifted and people may be working near the road. Motorists should exercise caution, be mindful of their speed and avoid distractions while driving through work zones.

The most common work zone crash is a rear-end collision. Adequate following distance is important in avoiding such crashes. National work zone fatalities decreased from 872 in 1999 to 579 in 2013, a 34 percent decrease, but there’s still work to be done as “Florida’s future depends on it.”

National Work Zone Awareness Week was designated in 1999 through the Federal Highway Administration, American Traffic Safety Services Association and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials in an effort to increase work zone safety and reduce fatalities.

Rolling Roadblocks — Balancing Safety and Mobility

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Motorists, understandably, want to get where they’re going on time. During the complex, six-year I-4 Ultimate project that will reconstruct 21 miles of Interstate 4 (I-4) from its roadbeds to many of its bridge tops, there will be some unavoidable delays.

“We know that drivers don’t like delays, but we are working to keep any significant interruptions confined to the overnight hours during the I-4 Ultimate project,” said Loreen Bobo, P.E., I-4 Ultimate Construction Program Manager. “Ultimately, the result will be a highway that better supports Central Florida’s growing population and economy well into the future.”

Often the best compromise between keeping construction going and traffic flowing without a stoppage is the rolling roadblock. The rolling roadblock – essentially a controlled slowing of traffic – is a proven traffic-management technique that assures mobility and safety when workers or machinery must be in the roadway. Such activities can include the construction of a bridge or overpass, especially when large girders, often weighing several tons, must be set into place over the travel lanes by massive cranes.

Rolling roadblocks begin several miles back from the construction area, and the process starts when law enforcement officers block entrance ramps to the highway along the affected route. Then, as the designated lead patrol cars pass by, the entrance ramps reopen and cars and trucks fall in line behind the law enforcement vehicles.

Traffic may slow to below 20 mph and on occasion come to a halt. But, ideally, the pace is such that the official lead cars will not reach the work zone until the construction procedure is completed and it is safe to pass through. Law enforcement officers, construction supervisors and traffic management teams do everything possible to keep traffic moving. Limiting the rolling roadblocks to overnight hours also minimizes the impact on the public.

Rolling roadblocks also offer several safety benefits, including:

  • Avoiding detours through neighborhoods at night, where motorists are unaccustomed to driving and where residents are trying to sleep
  • Preventing a complete stop of traffic on interstates, where a 10-minute stop often requires 40 more minutes to get traffic patterns back to normal
  • Minimizing the risk of rear-end collisions by gradual slowing all traffic, so that drivers, traveling at highway speeds, do not suddenly come upon a line of stopped vehicles.

Taking the Paperless Route on the I-4 Ultimate Project

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While some construction projects still rely on workers with clipboards filling out forms in triplicate to track trucks as they come and go, the I-4 Ultimate team planned to take the digital and paperless route from the start.

The decision to use instantaneous digital readers and scanners to monitor trucks that have electronic tags or barcoded job tickets put the I-4 Ultimate team miles ahead of other groups when it comes to keeping tabs on vehicles that bring in or haul out construction materials.

“We track all trucking this way and keep it nearly paperless,” said Glenn Shilling, Borrow Pit Manager for SGL Constructors – the design-build joint venture for the I-4 Ultimate project.

Shilling, who has 30 years of experience in earthworks construction, said many in the industry have been reluctant to move from paper to electronic record-keeping. “It’s been slow to change in some sectors,” he said. “But it’s well worth it when they do.”

Scanners and digital readers in construction zones even can be linked to the financial arm of the I-4 Ultimate project. The computerized system eliminates a lot of sorting of records by hand and data-entry work, while also reducing the chance of misplacing a job ticket. As a result, trucking companies and their drivers can be paid with little or no paperwork – a positive for both the budget and the environment.

While digitizing any single step in the process might save only a few cents per occurrence, the savings can add up to big dollars. A few seconds here and a few minutes there can mean thousands of hours saved during the six-year project to reconstruct 21 miles of Interstate 4 (I-4) from west of Kirkman Road to east of State Road 434.

“It definitely saves time and money,” Shilling said.

April is Distracted Driving Month

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Throughout the month of April, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is reminding motorists to fully focus on driving and not drive distracted.

In 2015, there were more than 45,700 distracted driving crashes in Florida resulting in more than 39,000 injuries and more than 200 fatalities. Distracted driving crashes accounted for 12.2 percent of all crashes in Florida last year, 7.4 percent of fatal crashes and 15.4 percent of all injury crashes.

The three categories of driver distractions are visual (taking your eyes off the road), manual (taking your hands off the wheel) and cognitive (thinking about anything other than driving). Texting requires all three categories, making it one of the most dangerous distracted driving behaviors. However, texting is not the only driver distraction. Distractions can include talking on a cell phone, putting on makeup, reaching to comfort a child in the back seat, eating, tuning the radio, checking a GPS navigation device or even daydreaming.

Last year in the state, almost 20,000 distracted drivers under the age of 30 were involved in a crash. The age group with the largest number of distracted driving crashes was 20–24 year-olds (17.8 percent), followed by 25–29 year-olds (14.3 percent) and then 15–19 year-olds (11.6 percent). Parents should talk with their kids about responsible driving behaviors and always model focused driving.

“Safety is FDOT’s number one priority,” stated FDOT Secretary Jim Boxold in a joint press release with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Florida Sheriffs Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Students Against Destructive Decisions and the Florida Teen Safe Driving Coalition. “We encourage motorists to pay attention to the road and avoid distractions, such as texting, eating or interacting with other passengers that may draw your eyes and attention away. Pedestrians should also be alert and avoid walking while texting.”

For more safety tips from I-4 Ultimate project, visit

Employee Spotlight: Keith Taylor

SGL Recruiting and Hiring Manager
Resident of Lake Nona

Keith Taylor knows the value of communications. At the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), he learned it as a cadet and as a defensive back on the college’s football team.

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It has continued to serve him well as Recruiting and Hiring Manger on the I-4 Ultimate project – the six-year, public-private partnership to reconstruct 21 miles of Interstate 4 (I-4) through Metro Orlando.

“With the I-4 Ultimate project being so large and the construction teams spread out over 21 miles, organization and communication are key components to success,” Taylor said. Good communication skills also help him match people to job openings. “We have to make sure we have the right people in the right jobs to build the project,” he said.

While the academics, athletics and military training at VMI required a rigorous, disciplined approach to succeed, he also learned flexibility in dealing with people from a variety of backgrounds. “Everybody’s different, and a diverse workforce is one of our goals,” Taylor said. “But we also always look for people with the right knowledge and the right attitude about safety.”

Even checking the skill levels of equipment operators is handled in the safest manner possible – on electronic simulators at the hiring office rather than in the cabs of the actual heavy machinery.

Taylor received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering at VMI and then became a field engineer and estimator for Skanska in Washington, D.C., and in the Virginia towns of Charlottesville, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach. He and his wife, Katrice, an elementary school teacher, decided he should expand his skills with a new challenge, and when the opportunity arose to work on the I-4 Ultimate project with SGL Constructors (the design-build joint venture for the project), they leaped at the chance to move to Florida.

In his free time, Taylor likes to work out, watch football and spend time with his wife and their dog. His bottom-line advice for job applicants is simple: “Ask questions. There are no bad questions.”

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).