Forward icon

May 2017

Looking Beyond I-4 Ultimate

Article 1 Image

While the I-4 Ultimate reconstruction project continues to progress toward completion in 2021, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) also is moving ahead with plans for a set of projects known as Beyond the Ultimate.

The ongoing I-4 Ultimate project stretches 21 miles from west of the Kirkman Road (State Road 435) interchange to east of the S.R. 434 interchange in Longwood. The proposed Beyond the Ultimate consists of five different project segments. Overall, they comprise approximately 40 miles.

Twenty of those 40 miles run from west of Kirkman Road in Orange County to just west of the S.R.25/U.S. 27 interchange in Polk County. Another 20 miles range from east of S.R. 434 in Seminole County to just east of S.R. 472 in Volusia County.

Public informational meetings about the Beyond the Ultimate project have been going on for several years and will continue as the individual projects move ahead. Each segment of the project must undergo a stringent several-step process that includes planning, environmental study, preliminary design, right-of-way considerations, design and construction.

Each of the five segments of the 40-mile Beyond the Ultimate project are at different stages of funding, and some timelines and funding amounts may change in July. Currently, however, the area closest to a construction date is Segment 2, which is a 3.5-mile section that runs between Beachline Expressway (S.R. 528) and Kirkman Road. Construction of that segment will likely start in late 2019, said FDOT Project Manager Beata Stys-Palasz, P.E.

All segments will include four dynamic tolled Express Lanes (two in each direction) and six non-tolled lanes.

New Technology Helps Keep Drivers and Workers Safe

Lighted Traffic Cones

In an effort to ensure motorists and drivers stay as safe as possible during the I-4 Ultimate reconstruction project, the Maintenance of Traffic (MOT) team continues to try out some of the newest safety technology.

“It’s our responsibility to look at new technologies and be willing to test them,” said David Feise, who is Project Maintenance of Traffic Manager with SGL – the construction joint venture of Skanska, Granite and Lane.

Among the most recent tested are traffic cone lights that flash in sequence and portable, wireless alarms systems. Both are part of the I-4 Ultimate team’s ongoing efforts to develop smart work zones.

The lighted traffic cones do not simply flash to make sure drivers see them; they actually blink in sequence from the first cone to the last and then repeat the first-to-last order. It helps drivers see that their lane is tapering toward a closure and they need to move over.

The lights can be attached to nearly any set of cones and are programmed. So, if cones are knocked over, then the remaining lights wirelessly resynch themselves using Bluetooth technology to keep them blinking in proper order.

While drivers may get numb to seeing the same lane-closure warnings, the blinking cone lights seem to have caught their attention. During a typical night, workers often find that three or four of the reflective cones have been knocked over. However, none of the blinking lighted cones had been hit during the first few weeks of use.

The worker alert system is another innovation undergoing testing. It seems simple to set up, yet very effective as part of a smart work zone.

An air-filled tube is stretched across the ground on the edge of a work zone. If a car or truck runs across the tube, then the unit alerts those in the work zone that a vehicle has veered out of the designated traffic lanes and may be endangering nearby crews. The wireless signal sets off portable alarms that emit loud sirens and bright flashing lights. Workers on the ground or those operating vehicles also can carry personal alarm devices that vibrate and flash during the alert

A look ahead at the improved Michigan St. and Kaley Ave. interchanges

Article 3 Image
1 Adding longer entrance ramp from Kaley Avenue to westbound I-4 allows access to Michigan Street and improves access to westbound I-4.
2 Adding a longer westbound I-4 exit ramp to Michigan Street provides more capacity for vehicles exiting I-4.
3 Adding a longer eastbound I-4 exit ramp to Kaley Avenue provides more capacity for vehicles exiting I-4.
4 Adding a longer entrance ramp from Michigan Street to eastbound I-4 allows access to Kaley Avenue and improves access to westbound I-4.
5 Texas U-turns connect Kaley Avenue and Michigan Street with frontage roads that allow freeflowing, easy access between the two interchanges.

Situated south of downtown Orlando are the Interstate 4 (I-4) interchanges of Michigan Street and Kaley Avenue – gateways to a bustling business district.

To keep up with the growth and activity in the area, the two interchanges will be reconfigured to increase vehicle capacity and improve merging traffic.

The westbound Interstate 4 (I-4) exit ramps to Kaley Avenue closed shortly after construction began to eliminate traffic weaving patterns between the exit and entrance ramps at the interchange. Although those exits will not return upon completion, the I-4 Ultimate project will replace those traffic movements with an innovative solution.

In the reconfigured interchange, motorists wishing to exit westbound I-4 to Kaley Avenue will exit onto a frontage road that leads to Michigan Street. A Texas U-turn at Michigan Street will lead motorists back toward Kaley Avenue. Texas U-turns will be constructed underneath the I-4 overpasses at Kaley Avenue and Michigan Street. The Texas U-turn is a configuration that allows drivers traveling on a one-way frontage road to U-turn onto an opposite direction frontage road without waiting at a traffic signal. The frontage roads adjacent to I-4 along with the U-turns will reduce weaving without compromising traffic flow.

The westbound I-4 entrance ramp from Kaley Avenue also is being lengthened. It will split with one direction moving toward westbound I-4 and the other connecting to the frontage road between Kaley Avenue and Michigan Street.

Additionally, the eastbound I-4 exit ramp to Kaley Avenue will be lengthened, and it will connect to the frontage road adjacent to eastbound I-4.

For more information about the Michigan Street and Kaley Avenue interchanges, visit or

Article 3 Image

The Big Machines of I-4 Ultimate: Incident Management Truck

Article 4 Image

Purpose: Helps first responders and the I-4 Ultimate team with traffic incident management by assisting with clearing roadways, lifting vehicles and cleaning spills.

Truck capabilities: Equipped with crane, powerful vacuum, mechanical sweeper, saws, winch, 50-gallon drums for waste and fuel-absorbing pads.

I-4 Ultimate Road Rangers and other first responders don’t always know what to expect when arriving at accident scenes or other incidents.

That’s why they have trucks that can assist in a variety of situations. The traffic-incident management trucks can lift vehicles, mop spills, vacuum a variety of materials, cut through metal wreckage or downed trees with powerful saws and carry off spilled fuels and oils to be recycled. They even hold gas-powered hedge trimmers and weed cutters in case it’s necessary to get through overgrown thickets.

With such an array of different tools and capabilities, it’s no wonder that Dave Yeager calls it “the Swiss army knife of trucks,” referring to the well-known pocket knives that feature screw drivers, little saws, can openers and other tools.

Yeager is the owner of Incident Management Solutions based in Minneola in Lake County. He sees part of his job as relieving first responders – including fire departments’ hazardous material crews. Once those emergency workers have secured the site and taken care of urgent needs, the I-4 Ultimate team usually can handle the remaining tasks. “If we finish up the work, then they can get back in service much quicker and be ready for their next call,” Yeager said.

The versatile trucks assist the team in many ways, said Joseph Morffi, Operations & Maintenance Manager for I-4 Ultimate and SGL – the construction joint venture of Skanska, Granite and Lane. “Without this kind of teamwork, we could not get the lanes reopened as quickly.”

Spotlight Employee: Daniel Haldi

Daniel Haldi
Concrete Compliance Project Administrator
Resides: Daytona Beach

Employee Spotlight photo

“... a will to build something grand.”

When Daniel Haldi turned 62, he retired from more than two decades of work with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). But his retirement only lasted for three months before he was back working in a field he still loves.

Haldi brings 45 years of experience and a lifetime of passion for rocks and minerals to the I-4 Ultimate project. As the Concrete Compliance Project Administrator for HNTB – the Construction Oversight Services consultant to FDOT, he oversees the use of concrete for the entire 21-mile stretch. From beginning to end, Haldi makes sure that the concrete being used is the right mix and combination of ingredients.

On this particular job there are about 60 different design mixes. “The design mixes are like the recipe for how to make the concrete,” Haldi explained. “The batch for the mix is dependent on the environment and application that it’s going into.” For example, concrete that’s going underground has a different makeup than concrete above ground.

During his off time, Haldi shares some of his passion by speaking at elementary schools, and showing his large personal collection of minerals. He even lets children take home samples at the end of his demonstration. He also has given presentations at Stetson University Gillespie Mineral Museum and Daytona Beach Museum of Arts & Science.

In addition to his passion for the materials he works with, Haldi loves working with the various people on the job. “There is a vast array of different people here from all over the world,” he said. Realizing that everyone adds something different based on their past experiences, he gladly shares his knowledge to help keep the project and the teams that build it at their best.

“Every project takes people, machinery and a will to build something grand.”

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).