I-4 Ultimate

February 2018

* EB I-4 On-Ramp from Universal Boulevard to Close for 5 Months
* Two New Traffic Patterns Coming to Downtown Orlando
* I-4 Ultimate Engineer to Run Boston Marathon to Raise Funds and Awareness for Melanoma Prevention
* Construction Career Days Showcases Job Opportunities for Graduating Students
* Spotlight Employee: Roy Tootle

EB I-4 On-Ramp from Universal Boulevard to Close for 5 Months


The eastbound Interstate 4 (I-4) on-ramp from Universal Boulevard will close for five months, beginning at 2 a.m. on Monday, February 19. This closure is necessary to create a safe work zone for the ongoing work at the Kirkman Road (State Road 435) and I-4 interchange.

A detailed map and directions for the detour can be found and downloaded at fdot.tips/universal.

A lot of work already has been completed on the west side of the interchange, including new westbound I-4 exit ramps to southbound and northbound Kirkman Road. Crews now are beginning to focus on improvements planned for the east side of the interchange. Closing the Universal Boulevard on-ramp will help crew members work safely and efficiently.

Information about changes at the interchange will also be available on i4Ultimate.com/alertsmap. News about 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 i4ultimate.com/alerts.

Modifications or extensions to this schedule 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.


Two New Traffic Patterns Coming to Downtown Orlando


As I-4 Ultimate construction progresses in downtown Orlando, motorists will begin to see an increasing number of changes to traffic patterns.

Two significant modifications scheduled in the next several weeks include changes to eastbound Interstate 4 (I-4) ramps at Ameila Street/Colonial Drive (State Road 50) and Michigan Street.

By the end of this month, the eastbound I-4 on-ramp from Amelia Street is scheduled to close and a new on-ramp will take its place. Instead of entering the on-ramp from the left side of Garland Avenue, the new ramp will require motorists to enter from the right side of Garland Avenue.

The new ramp will be much longer as it flies over Colonial Drive before connecting to eastbound I-4. This longer ramp not only will provide more capacity for vehicles entering eastbound I-4, it will allow motorists to more efficiently and safely merge with eastbound I-4 traffic.

Another traffic pattern change on the horizon is scheduled to begin as soon as early March. The eastbound I-4 on-ramp from Michigan Street will be closed for one year as crews continue work on the redesigned Kaley Avenue and Michigan Street interchanges. When complete, the two interchanges will work together with frontage roads and Texas U-turns to allow easy access between the two interchanges. Learn more about upcoming improvements to the I-4 interchanges at Kaley Avenue and Michigan Street at fdot.tips/kaley.

Roadway changes are ever-present on the 21-mile I-4 Ultimate Improvement Project. The I-4 Ultimate Project has several avenues for motorists to learn about upcoming changes on the roadway, including personalized construction alerts, Twitter feed, YouTube channel and website newsfeed. Sign up today at i4ultimate.com/signup.


I-4 Ultimate Engineer to Run Boston Marathon to Raise Funds and Awareness for Melanoma Prevention


After being diagnosed with a dangerous skin cancer of the scalp that required surgery under full anesthesia last year, Tom Whitney, P.E., searched for ways to celebrate his recovery. And he wanted to check an item off his bucket list.

Having run a few marathons and having been born in Boston – though raised in Orlando – Whitney decided to enter the renowned Boston Marathon to mark the fact he was cancer-free. But when he looked at the qualifying times, he saw he’d have to cut about 20 minutes from his personal best to get in. And that just was not realistic.

Then he read how serious runners also can enter the April race as part of a fundraising team. He checked the approved groups and found one – Impact Melanoma – dedicated to preventing the malignant skin cancer. Perfect, he thought. Seemed like fate. “Somebody is putting this together for me.”

With that, the I-4 Ultimate senior materials engineer also had a way to raise awareness of melanoma – a potentially fatal affliction often caused by exposure to the sun. Whitney was never reckless in the sun; he always wore a hat outside. But now he takes extra care to wear long sleeves, whenever possible, and always uses a good sunblock lotion. “I used to think this only happened to elderly people who spent all day sunbathing,” said Whitney, who was 45 when doctors discovered the melanoma last year.

Impact Melanoma is sponsoring the Running for Cover fundraising team for the Boston Marathon; Whitney is the only member from the Florida. He shared his story, including a photo of his sutured head following surgery, on CrowdRise – part of the well-known GoFundMe platform. He hopes to raise $10,000 for running the marathon April 16.

A graduate of the University of Central Florida with a degree in engineering, Whitney works for Elipsis Engineering as a sub-consultant to HNTB, which is the Construction Oversight Services consultant to FDOT. As a senior materials engineer, he ensures that proper materials are used in the correct manner on the I-4 Ultimate project.

Although he doesn’t get on his soapbox at work, he hopes to share his cautionary tale with those who spend time outdoors at work or play.

“We need better awareness,” Whitney said. “I have a small realm of influence. But if this gets one person to go to the dermatologist for a checkup, then that’s good.”


Construction Career Days Showcases Job Opportunities for Graduating Students


Nearly 3,000 junior and senior high school students started building their careers at the 18th annual Central Florida Construction Career Days. The event, hosted by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and its industry partners, helped teenagers explore and build a strong foundation for a successful future in transportation construction projects such as the I-4 Ultimate project.

“Construction Career Days is a fantastic way to introduce the builders and tradespeople of tomorrow to our industry today,” said Dora Rockefeller, FDOT District 5 Contract Manager and co-chair of the event.

Junior and senior high school students from more than 50 high schools in Brevard, Indian River, Lake, Marion, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia counties attended the event. Students learned about the many available opportunities and experienced some skilled trades firsthand. Engineers and skilled trade workers from local firms, technical schools and FDOT held more than 30 interactive learning labs. Students even tried their hand at operating heavy equipment and simulators.

Construction opportunities represented through the program are not minimum wage jobs, but rather steady careers. “Those in the field who have skills and experience earn an average of about $18 an hour,” said Geoff Scales, Senior Project Manager with Hubbard Construction Company and co-chair of the event. “These are careers that you can grow with. If you’ve got the ambition and the drive, you can build a career in the construction industry and go far.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the number of jobs in the construction field will grow by nearly 22 percent over the next few years, but the current labor pool is shrinking with the average skilled worker retiring at close to 50 years old. That’s why Construction Career Days encourages graduating high school students to explore the wide variety of opportunities available in the transportation construction industry.

Construction Career Days was held at the Central Florida Fairgrounds on January 25 and 26 from 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. each day.


Spotlight Employee: Roy Tootle
Field Engineer

While attending high school in Jacksonville, North Carolina, Roy Tootle started thinking about how to turn two of his interests into an exciting career. From the time he was a kid, he liked to build things, starting with Legos. And, as far back as he could remember, he always loved math.

“I was strong in math. I liked it and it came easy to me,” said Tootle, who is completing his fifth year in the construction business and is a field engineer for Area 4 in the Altamonte Springs area.

While growing up, Tootle also had a role model in his dad, who retired from the Marines as a Master Gunnery Sergeant and who had been, at one time, a combat engineer. So when Tootle realized that the nearby University of North Carolina at Charlotte had an excellent program for civil engineers and that there was a lot of construction going on in that busy city, he figured he had he had found a good place to start out.

After graduating with a civil engineering degree, Tootle was hired by the Lane Construction Corporation. That led to several interesting experiences from supervising bridge crews to working on a light rail project. Four years after college, Tootle arrived in Orlando to be part of SGL – the joint construction venture of Skanska, Granite and Lane on the I-4 Ultimate project.

He has helped to manage or oversee a wide array of work, including nighttime traffic shifts and detours, construction of ground-mounted signs, guardrail installation, drilled shafts, and the trucking of supplies to work sites.

“It’s good to stay busy,” Tootle said. “I like the challenges, and I think it’s good to be well-rounded in this business.” Already, he has dealt with local governments, subcontractors and learned a lot about planning and documenting work processes.

Tootle said he also enjoys talking with people from a variety of companies to hear how they try to improve work efficiencies while maintaining high safety standards. There’s always something new to learn. “It all will help make me a better project manager.”