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Several New Traffic Patterns Open
Before the Holidays

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Finishing touches are made on new westbound I-4 lanes between Florida’s Turnpike and Kirkman Road.

In time for the holiday season, the I-4 Ultimate project is giving the motoring public several new traffic patterns, as progress continues on the massive roadway project.

The new traffic patterns include two new ramps at the Interstate 4 (I-4) and Maitland Boulevard (State Road 414) interchange and a major traffic shift on westbound I-4 between Florida’s Turnpike and Kirkman Road (State Road 435).

  • Opened the first week in December, the new eastbound I-4 entrance ramp to westbound Maitland Boulevard shifted nearly 1,500 ft. beyond the existing ramp location. Motorists continue to exit on the right, but instead of depending on a traffic signal like before, they now merge onto Maitland Boulevard. An illustration of the new ramp is available online at
  • Opened the first week of December, the traffic shift of westbound I-4 between Florida’s Turnpike and Kirkman Road is about two-thirds of a mile long. As a result of the traffic shift, motorists wishing to exit westbound I-4 to northbound Kirkman Road (Exit 75 B) need to exit about a quarter mile sooner. An illustration of the traffic shift is available online at
  • Scheduled to open in mid-December is a new westbound I-4 exit ramp to westbound Maitland Boulevard and Lake Destiny Road. The new ramp will require motorists to exit nearly a half mile sooner. The new ramp will mitigate merging hazards and promote safety. Maitland motorists coming from westbound I-4 will be able to access northbound Lake Destiny Road without exiting onto Maitland Boulevard. An illustration of the new ramp is available online at

Modifications or extensions to these schedules may become necessary due to weather delays or other unforeseen conditions. Motorists are advised to maintain a safe speed when driving through the work zone.

In addition to variable message boards in the areas of these new traffic patterns, information on closures and traffic shifts is included in I-4 Ultimate’s Advanced Construction Alert System. Sign up to receive construction alerts by text or email at

Click to watch What's Happening to Maitland Blvd'

Students Gain Career Insight From I-4 Ultimate Field Trips

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The students of Evans High School and University High School usually don’t get to build bridges at school.

But in late November, they did.

Students interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competed with their peers to create bridges using simulation software. Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) engineers showed the students how to maximize structural integrity and keep building costs low.

“We’re so appreciative and grateful for this experience,” said Corey Anderson, engineering instructor at Evans High School. “This is when a lot of students are beginning to really start getting interested. It’s great for them to see real-world applications, and to apply and relate it to what we’re learning back in the classroom.”

Building bridges was just a portion of what students did during the field trip.

Small groups of five-15 students cycled through different education modules. The I-4 Ultimate team visited Evans High School, while University High School toured the hub office in Maitland along with a portion of the nearby Interstate 4 interchange.

I-4 Ultimate Road Rangers discussed their typical day with students while giving them an inside look at their truck and all of its equipment. The maintenance of traffic crew set up a large electronic variable message sign, and they showed students how they deploy cones and barrels for roadway closures with their scorpion truck.

Robin Dakers, an administrator with Orange County Technical College, saw firsthand how students were inspired at the Evans High School field trip.

“I had a student who asked if he could be a road ranger right out of high school, and maybe while in tech school,” she said. “He found out that it was possible, and he said, ‘Wow.’ Our students have big career aspirations, and this is a wonderful stepping stone to furthering career options.

The importance of safety also was emphasized at each field trip. Students donned safety helmets, protective glasses, gloves and reflective vests – just like any member of the I-4 Ultimate team would do before heading into the active work zone.

Later, they switched their protective eyewear for “drunk goggles,” which simulated intoxication. Students laughed as they haphazardly meandered around cones, but the lesson had a serious undertone. I-4 Ultimate staff emphasized how important sober driving is through work zones and on all other roadways.

The entire field trip, including the tour of the Maitland Boulevard interchange, was eye opening, said Danielle Miller, University High School Global Technologies Magnet coordinator.

“It makes a big impact any time students can see what they’re learning can be applied to the world,” she explained. “Seeing how much engineering planning and knowledge is involved with the project helped them realized how much of an impact their current education has on their future. They also realized the importance of teamwork during a construction project.”

This wasn’t the I-4 Ultimate team’s first or last field trip. Last year, Lyman High School toured the hub office. Just last week, a group of students Osceola County schools visited the Hub office.

I-4 Ultimate Team Gives Back

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The I-4 Ultimate team is just as invested in the community as it is dedicated to improving the interstate.

This holiday season, the team is involved in numerous charitable efforts around Central Florida.

I-4 Ultimate employees all across the project collected non-perishable food to donate to Killarney Elementary School’s food pantry. The drive was headed by SGL Constructors, the joint venture team of Skanska Granite and Lane. A total of 1,532 items were collected for students in need.

“We have a significant portion of families that need assistance,” said Jennifer Earnest, curriculum resource teacher at Killarney Elementary School. “I don’t know how many of our students would have meals when they go home if it weren’t for this pantry.”

This is the second year the I-4 Ultimate project has donated to the Killarney Elementary food pantry.

“Volunteers bag the food from the pantry for the weekends, and send them home with the students on Friday,” Earnest said. “We truly appreciate this, and we are so very blessed.”

In addition to donating to the elementary school, Skanska gave 98 Thanksgiving meals to the Orlando Union Rescue Mission’s Women and Children’s Division.

This is a huge increase from last year’s donation, which was 32 turkeys.

“These kinds of donations are essential,” said Freddy Clayton, president and CEO of the Orlando Union Rescue Mission. “Without generous groups like Skanska, we couldn’t create such a stable environment for our guests. Every donation has such a profound effect. It relieves parents and helps families foster cheer and love over the holidays.”

The mission helps families and single parents establish an economically stable lifestyle and safe lodging during a transitionary period.

Marisa Dollins, Skanska executive assistant and one of the drive’s coordinators, recognized and addressed the mission’s need.

“It just seemed right,” she said. “These are families who are in a tough spot. Something like this helps them feel like they can be just like any other family during the holidays.”

There’s even more holiday cheer in December. The SGL-led Angel Tree Program is supplying holiday gifts to less fortunate children at four schools throughout the I-4 Ultimate project area. SGL volunteers are delivering the collected gifts this week.

The gifts are gathered from all four area offices and the offices of Florida Department of Transportation’s partners, HNTB, Volkert, Jacobs, and HDR.

Stretch and Flex: Making Every I-4 Ultimate Crew Member an MVP

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What do Orlando Magic’s Serge Ibaka and Orlando City’s Kaká have in common with crews working on the I-4 Ultimate project? They all stretch before starting their work day to help prevent injuries and increase mental sharpness.

Just as the world’s greatest athletes always warm up to be their best, I-4 Ultimate employees never enter the worksite without taking part in Stretch and Flex exercises beforehand.

Stretch and Flex is a program implemented on all Skanska project sites and offices as part of their Injury-Free Environment® culture. It is an integral part of the I-4 Ultimate project, as well as the construction joint venture of Skanska, Granite and Lane (SGL Constructors). Stretch and Flex is practiced at all levels, from the workers on the side of Interstate 4 (I-4) to the executive team in the home office.

This daily activity involves stretching exercises to warm up muscles and help prevent soft-tissue injuries. Announcements are also made during this time, helping promote team camaraderie.

Ultimately, Stretch and Flex is a daily reminder to put safety first.

“A little bit of movement to start your day can go a long way in making your body and brain more alert, and to help reduce the likelihood of mistakes or accidents,” said Mike Pickeral, Senior Safety Director for SGL.

For 10 to 15 minutes at the start of each work day, jobsite crews and office employees participate in a set of as many as eight simple exercises. Groups can be as small as two or more than 300.

As reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, more than 1 million employees suffer back problems every year, which, along with shoulder problems, are the most common injuries among construction workers. To help reduce these numbers more construction companies and safety managers are embracing Stretch and Flex programs. By doing so, workers experienced fewer back and shoulder problems.

Employee Spotlight: Matthew Gans

Document Control Manager
Rio Pinar area of Orange County

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“It's only going to keep growing.”

Building the I-4 Ultimate project requires moving mountains of concrete, dirt, and steel. But planning, documenting and communicating about the 21-mile-long project also creates massive amounts of paperwork. Or, more accurately, virtual paperwork.

“And it’s only going to keep growing,” said Matthew Gans, who is in charge of keeping it all organized and accessible, for the construction joint venture of Skanska, Granite and Lane.

The I-4 Ultimate team has been committed to keeping tasks as paperless as possible. However, that still means someone must catalog and manage the 50,000 plan sheets (similar to blueprints), 1,700 official letters, 1,760 requests for information and 3,450 shop drawings – even if they are electronic.

Already, the electronically stored documents would equate to more than 21,000 typical, cardboard banker boxes. Or put another way, they’d stretch all the way from Longwood at the interchange of Interstate 4 (I-4) and State Road 434, moving southward past Maitland to the spot where  I-4 crosses over Kennedy Boulevard in Eatonville. That’s a distance of five miles.

Although cataloging that enormous sum of electronic information has challenges, it has saved more than 50 tons of actual paper so far.

Gans knows all those numbers could swell several times larger by 2021 when the project is complete. That’s okay by him and Tiffany Slones, the document control administrator, who assists in the ever-growing task. Slones has been a key asset for Gans, as they manage the thousands of documents coming in and out of the department.

“I like doing big jobs,” Gans said.

Good thing, too, because inside the massive, 21-mile makeover of the I-4, even basic tasks such as invoicing involve substantial records and documentation. The project’s monthly invoice runs to 1,200 pages.

Gans, who grew up in South Florida, worked on similar jobs for an architecture firm and a company that helped design the I-595 express lane project. He and his wife have a 3-year-old daughter, who takes up a lot of their free time. His hobbies include flying his small drone and playing ice hockey – not the virtual, electronic game, but the bruising, real version.

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).