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Project’s First New Bridge to Open

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The I-4 Ultimate project will reach another milestone next month when the northbound Kirkman Road (State Road 435) bridge over westbound Interstate 4 (I-4) opens to motorists.

Rolling roadblocks on westbound I-4 occurred in March of this year, giving crane operators a safe area to hoist massive steel girders for the new bridge. Girders, some as long as 160 feet and seven feet tall, were placed during the rolling roadblock operations. During the summer months, work continued on the bridge, as workers finalized abutments at either end of the span and constructed mechanically stabilized earth walls, or MSEs.

While several other new bridges are completed or are nearing completion along the 21-mile project, including those around New Hampshire Street and Wymore Road in Maitland, the first to open to traffic will be the northbound Kirkman Road. A traffic shift is tentatively scheduled for early November to move traffic from the old bridge to the new one. The new bridge is just to the south of the old bridge and the temporary traffic shift will be minor.

The Kirkman Road interchange is the furthest along and the most complex in Area 1 of the I-4 Ultimate project, which stretches from west of Kirkman Road to John Young Parkway (State Road 423). When completed, the I-4 Ultimate improvements at the Kirkman Road interchange will improve motorist and pedestrian safety.

The new Kirkman Road interchange will feature a completely reconfigured set of I-4 entrance and exit ramps to improve capacity and eliminate traffic weaving.

For more information about the future improvements at the Kirkman Road interchange, visit

The Big Machines of I-4 Ultimate:
The Tadano Mantis

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Height: About 15 feet tall, not including the extendable boom arm
Weight: 260,000 pounds
Lifting Power: 130 tons – equal to about 20 adult elephants, 50 SUVs or 1,460 adult humans
Typical Tasks: Lifting heavy construction materials and pile driving
Manufactured: Richlands, Virginia

Big changes require big tools, and along the 21-mile stretch of the I-4 Ultimate Project, residents and motorists have been noticing some very large pieces of machinery jutting up into the sky.

One of those is the Tadano Mantis crane, which is set on what many people call tractor treads. It can pick up a massive load and then hold it up and out of the way while driving to a spot nearby.

Mobile and powerful, the big blue crane is one those essential pieces of equipment that are beginning to loom above the project. The crane was selected for the job by SGL – the design-build, joint-venture team of Skanska, Granite and Lane – for its ability work in relatively compact spaces. It also complies with Tier 4 emissions standards – currently the highest standard set by EPA.

The crane has a telescopic boom – the long, strong lifting arm – that quickly extends from 42 to 155 feet (about half the length of a football field). The retractable arm allows the Tadano Mantis to move under bridges and elevated roadways without prolonged lane closures or delays.

“This makes it more convenient for moving under and in between objects without having to disassemble and reassemble the boom every time we are in these types of situations,” said Phil Picone, SGL Project Equipment Manager.

Safety features include the hydraulic boom that can retract quickly in the event of thunderstorms and exterior cameras that allow the operator a wide field of vision.

The cranes are inspected by operators on a daily basis with thorough monthly and annual examinations by certified inspectors. Before the crane can lift objects, detailed lift plans are reviewed by engineers and inspectors for safety, Picone said.

Inside the cab, the operator has electronic screens with readouts on the crane’s performance, indicators of wind speed, and a warning system that alerts, if the wind, loads or movements approach safety limits. Much of that data also is transmitted to a central monitoring station.

“We have a very stringent safety program to assure the safety of our people and surroundings,” Picone said.

A Look Ahead at the Improved Fairbanks Avenue Interchange

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1 Lengthening the Fairbanks Avenue ramp to and from eastbound and westbound Interstate 4 (I-4).
2 Adding eastbound I-4 auxiliary lane between Princeton Street and Fairbanks Avenue to improve capacity.
3 Realigning I-4 near Fairbanks Avenue (see reverse side)

Getting to your favorite places in Winter Park and beyond will be easier and safer once the improved Fairbanks Avenue interchange is completed.

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) recognizes that the Fairbanks curve, the curved portion of Interstate 4 (I-4) just north of the interchange, requires some changes. Motorists often experience increased traffic congestion on this stretch of I-4. FDOT is using the I-4 Ultimate project as an opportunity to address these concerns.

The improvements will realign the curve and create more even elevations so that motorists will have better sight distance. Nearby streets must be realigned to accommodate the new Fairbanks curve. Roxbury Road will dead end instead of connecting to Wymore Road underneath I-4. To compensate for the lost connection, Riddle Drive will cross under I-4 and connect to Granada Drive. Wymore Road, Salisbury Boulevard and Wellington Boulevard will be shifted to make room for the expansion of I-4.

The I-4 Ultimate project improvedovements will lengthen the I-4 entrance and exit ramps to better distribute vehicles, which will reduce congestion.

Additionally, an eastbound I-4 auxiliary lane between Par Street and Fairbanks Avenue is being constructed to allow for safer and easier merging.

To see the upcoming improvements at the Fairbanks Avenue interchange and other interchanges along the 21-mile project, visit

I-4 Ultimate workers embracing diversity and inclusion

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It makes sense that a project with 15 distinct interchanges connecting unique Central Florida communities has an equally diverse team working on it.

SGL Constructors, the design-build joint venture of Skanska, Granite and Lane for the I-4 Ultimate project, reiterated the importance of diversity and inclusion during the week of October 17.

Each morning during Diversity and Inclusion Week, workers on the project discussed different topics, such as the importance of varied backgrounds and cultures or how everyone can encourage inclusion. In addition to the morning discussions, teams across the project competed to see who could donate the most flu and cold medicines to give to the Orlando Union Rescue Mission.

Diversity and inclusion are crucial parts of SGL culture on the I-4 Ultimate project, said Jon Walker, construction project manager and equal employment opportunity officer.

“Inclusion is a when the richness of ideas, unique views and opinions are valued and encouraged,” he said. “That also means you contribute to a positive work environment, and don’t participate in any form of harassment. You also speak up and take action if you notice it in the workplace, too.”

The week provided everyone with an opportunity to appreciate what each team member brings to the workplace and job site, Walker said.

“The benefits are far-reaching,” he explained. “There’s better collaboration, more effective communication and increased job satisfaction.”

Rodney Renix, Disadvantaged Business Enterprise compliance manager, echoes Walker’s sentiment regarding the benefits of diversity and inclusion.

“Having a diverse group of subcontractors and suppliers is important because it allows us the opportunity to be a stronger team,” Renix said.

The team actively works on education and recruitment opportunities focusing on diversity. They participate in outreach events and conferences.

Renix, a Central Florida resident, isn’t just working on the I-4 Ultimate project; he’s working to improve his community.

“We don’t just have a project here,” he said. “We live here. Our friends and families are here. Each of us has the responsibility to help foster inclusion and diversity on the project and in our daily lives.”

Employee Spotlight: JJ Moegling

Area 1 Project Manager
Resident of East Orlando area

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I-4 Ultimate is not just a large construction project familiar to Central Florida motorists and media. It’s also a nationally, and even internationally, recognized venture.

The excitement of dealing with such a challenging – and carefully scrutinized – public-private partnership was one of the reasons that JJ Moegling wanted to be part of the 21-mile project.

“If you say you’re working on I-4 Ultimate, the whole industry knows what you’re talking about,” said Moegling, who is I-4 Ultimate Project Manager for Area 1, which stretches from Kirkman Road to John Young Parkway. While the $2.3 billion effort offers career growth, that’s not his sole motivation.

“This is a legacy project that will help millions of people,” said Moegling, who works for SGL – the joint venture, design-build team of Skanska, Granite and Lane. “I want to look back and be proud of the signature corridor we built to benefit the entire region.”

Moegling supervises all work along the 5.7-mile stretch of Area 1, and he stays in touch with neighbors and nearby businesses, including Universal Orlando. Sometimes that means explaining the project is progressing, even if it’s not obvious to commuters.

“Some people driving by our worksites may not see big changes right away, but that’s because so much effort goes into the work underground.”

As a civil engineer with 17 years’ experience, he knows vital work often takes place out of sight – underground – where crews must place huge drainpipes, deal with miles of utility lines and drive steel pilings 100 feet deep. “It’s crucial,” Moegling said. “That’s the literal foundation of the project.”

Explaining all of that is part of his job. “Construction is a people business,” Moegling said. “I keep in touch with as many people as possible. Some days I could be talking with crew members who move dirt or place concrete; some days I may be talking with an executive vice president of Universal.”

But key messages remain the same. “Overall, what everybody wants to know is that we are building it correctly, safely and efficiently.”

While that doesn’t leave a lot of free time, the Cleveland native likes to follow his hometown sports teams and spend time with his wife, Carine, and their three sons. “I want them to be proud of what we build here.”

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).