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August 2017

New EB I-4 Traffic Movement between Princeton Street and Par Street

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A new eastbound Interstate 4 (I-4) on-ramp from Princeton Street and exit ramp from Par Street is opening the morning of August 28.

The new ramps will be part of a new temporary collector-distributor road, adjacent to eastbound I-4. A collector distributor road allows multiple options of entering and exiting the interstate similar to a ramp but encompassing more movements. The temporary road is designed to carry traffic from Princeton Street to eastbound I-4 and from eastbound I-4 to Par Street during construction.

Motorists wishing to enter I-4 will travel nearly one quarter of a mile on the ramp while motorists wishing to exit onto Par Street from I-4 will exit onto the ramp nearly a quarter of a mile sooner just after crossing over Princeton Street. The shift is necessary to safely demolish and reconstruct eastbound I-4 lanes while maintaining traffic flow. To view or download a map of the new traffic movement, visit

Other significant work expected to begin as soon as late August includes:

  • Eastbound I-4 from Gore Street to State Road (S.R.) 408 will close at night for nearly one week as soon as August 27. The ramps to eastbound I-4 from eastbound S.R. 408 and the eastbound I-4 exit ramp to Amelia Street will be closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. each night to accommodate construction activity. View the detour routes
  • A series of westbound I-4 nightly rolling roadblocks from Par Street to Florida’s Turnpike are scheduled to occur as soon as August 27 to place bridge girders for the new overpass at the Turnpike interchange. A total of 13 ramps will be temporarily closed during the 30-minute operation. View a map of the rolling roadblock

Local Leaders Praise Grand National Drive Overpass for Improving Safety, Mobility, Connectivity and Economic Opportunity

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The recently opened Grand National Drive overpass stands as an early example of how the I-4 Ultimate Project can improve safety, mobility and economic possibilities along the 21-mile reconstruction effort.

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs praised the effort that connects the Oak Ridge Road/International Drive area, east of Interstate 4 (I-4), to the Major Boulevard/Caravan Court area, west of I-4. “This new overpass will provide much needed connectivity in a corridor that is so important to our tourism industry and for the region’s overall economic prosperity,” Jacobs said.

She also applauded the overall design of the project that eases congestion and creates a “distinctive and visually appealing corridor,” so that “we enhance the quality of life, the transportation and the desirability of living and traveling here.”

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer noted that transportation infrastructure is an ongoing issue in a region with 68 million visitors a year and a very busy I-4 in the middle of it. “I don’t think there is a day that goes by that Mayor Jacobs and I don’t work in some way on that because it is vitally important to the economic vitality of our community and also to the quality of life.”

Dyer also praised the overpass for its wide, safe walkways that can accommodate bike riders and pedestrians, increasing mobility and safety for residents and visitors.

Orlando City Commissioner Samuel Ings, who represents the area around the new overpass said it will stimulate economic growth on both sides of I-4. “This roadway project provides for current and future commercial development in the North International Drive, Oakridge Road, Major Boulevard and Kirkman Road areas,” Ings said.

He also noted how the overpass connects the hotels, shops, restaurants and attractions of International Drive with similar businesses in the Universal Orlando theme park area.

Brook Brookshire, who is I-4 Ultimate Project Director for SGL – the construction joint venture of Skanska, Granite and Lane – highlighted the aims of the project. “Our goal with the I-4 Ultimate Project is to create a signature corridor that connects communities, improves economies and enhances livability and tourism throughout the region,” he said.

Alejandro Pezzini, who is the COO of AMP Group, which operates businesses in the North International Drive area, said the new roadway is much more than simply a commuter shortcut. “The opening of the Grand National Drive overpass will serve as our bridge of economic unity.”

He said the overpass is “a true catalyst of growth” that will encourage more people to visit and return to the area.

Steve Martin, who is the FDOT’s District 5 Secretary, said the I-4 Ultimate project currently is employing 2,000 people. “This event today represents major progress here, as well as all the way up and down the 21-mile corridor,” Martin said.

The overpass was designed to accommodate more than 1,000 vehicles per hour to help ease congestion on the nearby Kirkman Road (State Road 435) interchange. The overpass also includes direct connect ramps to Express Lanes that will open at the completion of the I-4 Ultimate project, scheduled for 2021.

New sidewalks and crosswalks were added to Grand National Drive, Caravan Court and Major Boulevard. Other area improvements include enhanced drainage features and lush landscaping, featuring nearly 450 trees and more than 700 shrubs.

Lake Ivanhoe’s Floating Work Site

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To construct overpasses and bridges across one of the many lakes dotting the Orlando area, workers must build support structures in the middle of the water.

The I-4 Ultimate team relies on barge cranes to get that job done, as is the case on the west side of Lake Ivanhoe. There, the setup consists of a 220-ton huge crane placed upon a 100-foot-long barge. Two small skiffs guide the barge to its proper spot on the lake where it is secured in place. While the concept seems simple enough, there are rigorous safety procedures to protect both workers and wildlife.

Moreover, the barge is not just a simple floating platform. It is a self-contained work site that supports a huge crane and holds equipment and material. It’s staffed by construction crew members, who are trained in water safety and rescue and must wear approved flotation devices on the barge and on their short boat rides to and from the waterborne work site.

“Working on the water takes a special level of concentration and forethought,” said Area 3 Construction Manager Kevin Moynihan, who is an experienced marine-construction professional. “The movement of the water, the weather, the fragile ecosystem and logistics are all very important considerations when we arrive to work every day,”

The main work of the crane is to hoist piles (heavy steel or concrete pillars) into place and then hold the pile-driving mechanisms that push them deep enough into the lake bottom to create support structures for bridges. A floating work site requires other special precautions. For example, crews deploy what are called turbidity or silt curtains. These are something like sheets of filters that hang down in the water to hold back silt particles and keep them from moving beyond the construction area. The curtains also have brightly colored flotation devices on top to alert boaters.

“Our barge is a fully functional and self-contained work site, but sometimes we have to show a little more patience than our co-workers on land,” Moynihan said. “Weather, winds and even birds, ducks and marine life can sometimes slow us down or make us work a little harder.”

Loreen Bobo Named 2017 Florida Government Engineer of the Year

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Loreen Bobo, P.E., who is the I-4 Ultimate Construction Program Manager for the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), recently earned top honors from the Florida Professional Engineers in Government (FPEG).

The Government Engineer of the Year Award recognizes the nominated engineer who has made the most outstanding contribution to the advancement of engineers in government, according to the organization. Bobo manages the 21-mile reconstruction project that stretches from west of the Kirkman Road interchange in Orange County to east of the State Road 434 interchange in Seminole County.

After receiving the award, Bobo sent out a message of thanks, noting how the project team is working to improve transportation for residents, commuters and visitors. “I am proud to be a professional engineer and proud to work for and represent the people of Florida and those visiting.”

The $2.3 billion effort is a public-private partnership and is considered the largest infrastructure project in Florida history. It currently employs 2,000 people. The project will remake six lanes of interstate, rebuild 140 bridges, reconfigure 15 major intersections and add four Express Lanes – two in each direction. It is scheduled for completion in 2021.

A 1999 graduate of the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, Bobo began working for the FDOT’s District 5 office in Deland that same year as a professional engineer trainee.

In 2007, Bobo earned her Masters of Science in Industrial Engineering with a focus on Engineering Management from the University of Central Florida.

Be Careful of Young Pedestrians During the New School Year

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With the calendar turning to August, it’s time for Central Florida students to leave summer vacation in the rearview mirror and start a new school year.

As street corners fill with children waiting for buses, now is an important time for drivers to slow down and be extra vigilant when they are on area roads.

A few precautions to take while driving immediately before and after school hours include:

  • Take extra care to look out for children in school zones, near playgrounds and parks and in all residential areas
  • Don't block crosswalks when stopped at red lights or waiting to make a turn, as this forces pedestrians to go around you and could put them in the path of moving traffic
  • When flashers are blinking in a school zone, yield to pedestrians crossing all crosswalks and intersections
  • It is illegal to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children
  • The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children; stop far enough back to allow them the space needed to safely enter and exit the bus

By exercising a little added care and caution, drivers and young pedestrians can co-exist safely during the school year.

Spotlight Employee: Jeremy Cheng

Jeremy Cheng
MOT Foreman

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“I really like being out in the field and meeting different challenges every day.”

Jeremy Cheng reached a stagnant point in his career as a graphic designer. Stuck in a cubicle with repetitive work, he was ready for the change that the On the Job Training (OJT) program provided.

When Cheng started the OJT program, he had no construction experience. Now he’s a maintenance of traffic (MOT) foreman with SGL – the construction joint venture of Skanska, Granite and Lane. As MOT foreman, he’s in charge of things like setting up road closures, putting out detours and running flag operations. He’s also in charge of an MOT specialist, has trained two people in the OJT program and is currently training the third.

 He entered this field because a friend had interviewed for the program and told Cheng to give it a shot as well. However, it wasn’t an easy transition. “I had some growing pains in the beginning,” Cheng said. “They didn’t give me the foreman lead position right away. I had to work up to it.”

The opportunity for advancement is one of the major pros for Cheng. His new field allows him many options, and he’s currently working toward becoming a superintendent. “I don't know everything,” he said. “But I have a good attitude, and I just try to learn something new every day.”

He enjoys working on the I-4 Ultimate project because he likes working with his hands and talking to people. “I really like being out in the field and meeting different challenges every day,” he said.

 In his free time Cheng still enjoys art and graphic design and does some projects on the side with his friends. He also enjoys music and played piano for 10 years.

 After the I-4 Ultimate project is completed, he’s ready for the next adventure, wherever it may be.

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).