i-4 Ultimate

April 2018

* Weekend Closures Provide Path to Construction Progress
* @I4Ultimate Twitter account now posting #I4Beyond updates
* Redesigned OBT and John Young Parkway Interchanges to Improve Traffic Flow
* Spotlight Employee: Kim Whitesides

Weekend Closures Provide Path to Construction Progress


Reconstructing Interstate 4 (I-4) is no easy task.

Many stages of the construction process can be accomplished at night to avoid disrupting traffic during the busier daytime hours. But not all operations are compatible with night work, and some cannot be completed at night and reopened the following day.

Ramps and local roads sometimes are closed for an entire weekend to accommodate the work. Here are some upcoming weekend closures scheduled for the project:

  • Wymore Road from Sandspur Road to Hope Road closed 10 p.m. on Friday, April 27, until 6 a.m. on Sunday, April 29. (Detour Map)
  • Kennedy Boulevard under Interstate 4 (I-4) closed 10 p.m. on Friday, May 11, until 5 a.m. on Monday, May 14.
  • Westbound I-4 exit ramp to southbound Orange Blossom Trail (US 17-92/441) closed on Friday, May 11, until 5 a.m. on Monday, May 14.

Stay up to date to on all construction closures and detours by subscribing to the I-4 Ultimate project advance construction alert system, Twitter feed or website newsfeed at https://i4ultimate.com/signup. 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.


@I4Ultimate Twitter account now posting #I4Beyond updates


The @I4Ultimate Twitter account has combined the I-4 Ultimate and I-4 Beyond the Ultimate projects' content on a weekly basis, and is now “I-4 Ultimate and Beyond.”

Followers will have a steady stream of I-4 Beyond the Ultimate project information such as key dates, public meetings, infographics and other content. The Twitter account already provides updates on construction detours for the 21-mile I-4 Ultimate project.

For the average driver, who is not yet familiar with I-4 Beyond the Ultimate, it might be easiest to think of it as an extension of the I-4 Ultimate project. I-4 Beyond the Ultimate extends the eastern endpoint of the managed lanes another 20 miles and also adds 20 miles to its western endpoint. Both I-4 Ultimate and I-4 Beyond the Ultimate will improve pavement, ramps and interchanges, and both projects will maintain the current six non-tolled lanes while adding four dynamic tolled Express Lanes (two in each direction). The Florida Department of Transportation oversees both projects.

Join in the conversation with more than 2,000 users following @I4Ultimate by tweeting us, retweeting information and using the hashtag #I4Beyond. The Twitter page can be found at https://fdot.tips/twitter.

If your organization would like to receive customized weekly or monthly I-4 Ultimate or I-4 Beyond the Ultimate Twitter content to post, please reach out to us at http://fdot.tips/I4Contact.


Redesigned OBT and John Young Parkway Interchanges to Improve Traffic Flow


Situated just south of downtown Orlando, the Interstate 4 (I-4) interchanges at Orange Blossom Trail (US 17-92/441) and John Young Parkway are being transformed as part of the I-4 Ultimate project.

Lengthened and reconfigured ramps paired with Express Lanes access will ease congestion and provide smoother approaches to and from downtown Orlando and the surrounding business and warehouse districts.

The left-hand exit ramp to southbound Orange Blossom Trail is relocating to the right side to create a more traditional exit location. The westbound I-4 entrance ramp also will be lengthened, and enter I-4 just over Rio Grande Avenue.

Motorists traveling eastbound on I-4 can use a new ramp combining the exits to both northbound and southbound Orange Blossom Trail. The movement will be similar to the previous configuration, but it diverts exiting traffic from the general use lanes onto a longer ramp separate from I-4.

Drivers seeking to use the westbound I-4 Express Lanes can enter just beyond Orange Blossom Trail. Motorists traveling on the westbound Express Lanes will have the option to exit them before John Young Parkway.

Traveling eastbound on I-4, drivers can enter the eastbound Express Lanes just before the John Young Parkway interchange. Motorists traveling in the eastbound Express Lanes and exit them beyond Orange Blossom Trail.

Aside from accommodating the new reconstructed lanes, the John Young Parkway and I-4 interchange largely is remaining unchanged. It was originally designed and constructed with future improvements in mind – such as the I-4 Ultimate project.

To view or download a handout detailing all of the improvements to these two interchanges, please visit https://fdot.tips/obtjyp.


Spotlight Employee: Kim Whitesides
Labor Foreman

On a busy day, more than 300 truckloads of sand are scooped up at a sand mine in Clermont and carried off by big trucks for use at construction sites on the I-4 Ultimate project.

The trucking foreman there, Kim Whitesides, is responsible for maintaining safety and efficiency. She, along with her father and daughter, comprise three generations of the same family working in the I-4 Ultimate project. All three work for SGL – the joint construction venture of Skanska, Granite and Lane.

While she’s proud of that, it was more the idea of working outside and meeting new challenges that drew Whitesides to the job. Dealing with 70-plus trucks a day, many of which may make four or more trips each to the sand mine, means there’s a lot traffic rolling up and down the hilly dirt roads in what is called a borrow pit – a place from which sand is taken, or borrowed.

But Whitesides, who grew up in Polk County, said she enjoys the work. “I’m outdoors all day – that’s a plus. Everybody seems happy. And we’re part of a team that’s making a difference. You already can see the changes on the interstate.”

The sand from the mine, which is free of organic material and drains well, is used to help create long-term stability at the base of many structures on the project.

With an excavator and a front-end loader working among the sandy hillsides and big trucks lumbering in and out, the area can get busy. Though she’s just in her second year in the construction field, Whiteside is used to busy schedules and careful work. For 15 years, she worked as a certified medical assistant in doctor’s offices and at a surgical center.

When she was looking for a change, her father, Ralph Johnson, who has been in construction all his adult life, suggested the I-4 Ultimate project, where he was already working as an excavator operator on the interstate. Whitesides immediately took to the job. “It’s awesome to learn something new,” she said. “It’s energizing when you broaden your experience.”

When one of her own daughters was looking for work after high school, she recommended I-4 Ultimate, and now Cheyenne Whitesides is working in a sand mine in Apopka, using electronic scanners to help keep track of the comings and goings of the trucks.

With three generations of her family working on the same project at the same time, Kim Whitesides said, “It’s keeps things pretty interesting.”