i-4 Ultimate

June 2018

* Construction Closures Suspended for Fourth of July
* Motorists Should Expect Nighttime Closures on S.R. 408 This Summer
* Wayfinding Pylons Going Up Near Grand National Drive
* I-4 Workers Stay Safe in Heat with Methods All Can Use
* Spotlight Employee: Andrea Diaz

Construction Closures Suspended for Fourth of July


The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will suspend lane and ramp closures on Interstate 4 (I-4) on the Fourth of July within the I-4 Ultimate work zone. Limiting closures minimizes potential traffic delays for motorists over the busy travel holiday.

Drivers can visit i4Ultimate.com to learn more about planned closures and sign up to receive personalized email and text alerts to stay informed.

The I-4 Ultimate project rebuilds 21 miles of Interstate 4 (I-4) from west of Kirkman Road in Orange County to east of State Road 434 in Seminole County, adding two new dynamic tolled Express Lanes in each direction, replacing more than 140 bridges, reconfiguring 15 major interchanges and reconstructing the entire roadway.


Motorists Should Expect Nighttime Closures on S.R. 408 This Summer


The number of improvements that the I-4 Ultimate project is putting in place on Interstate 4 (I-4) will go a long way toward increasing safety and mobility on the transportation backbone of Central Florida.

No change may be anticipated more than improved traffic flow at the I-4 and State Road (S.R.) 408 interchange. This interchange is one of the busiest in the state serving more than 200,000 vehicles a day.

To help alleviate traffic congestion at the I-4 and S.R. 408 interchange, separate ramps are being constructed for eastbound and westbound I-4 motorists heading to either eastbound or westbound S.R. 408. Separating traffic will minimize weaving, ease the traffic flow and increase safety. Bridge girders for several sections of these new flyover ramps have been set in place.

To ensure safety of motorists and workers, construction of the interchange has required some nighttime closures of existing ramps and nearby local roads, such as Division Avenue, Hughey Avenue and Anderson Street.

In July, the I-4 Ultimate team will continue building the flyover ramp from eastbound I-4 to eastbound S.R. 408. This ramp, also known as Bridge 227, crosses over S.R. 408. To construct the new flyover ramp safely, a series of nighttime lane closures, traffic pacing operations, and an occasional shutdown of S.R. 408 will be needed.

Following the construction of Bridge 227, I-4 Ultimate crews plan to work on Bridge 230 and Bridge 240 this summer. Bridge 230 is the flyover ramp from westbound I-4 to eastbound S.R. 408. Bridge 240 is the westbound S.R. 408 flyover ramp to westbound I-4. Both ramps cross over S.R. 408.

The I-4 Ultimate Project has several avenues for motorists to learn about upcoming nighttime closures on S.R. 408:

  • Sign up for the I-4 Ultimate Advance Construction Alert System to receive text or email alerts about lane, ramp or road closures.
  • Follow @i4Ultimate on Twitter to see weekly closures and detours planned on the corridor.
  • Subscribe to I-4 Ultimate newsfeed to learn about upcoming major construction activities by subscribing directly to the website’s newsfeed to receive an email when news is posted online.

Wayfinding Pylons Going Up
Near Grand National Drive


Large pylons on both sides of Interstate 4 (I-4) are under construction near the Grand National Drive overpass.

People began noticing the first large pylon in 2017 as it was being built near the Ivanhoe Boulevard and I-4 interchange. The monumental structure piqued continued public interest in the pylons and the purpose they serve.

The pylons play a dual role: They are an aesthetic feature and a practical wayfinding landmark. They also will remain lit at night.

Upon viewing the 90-foot-tall posts on the horizon, motorists will know that direct access to Express Lanes is nearby. The special direct connect ramps allow drivers to enter or exit the I-4 Express Lanes without having to first merge into the non-tolled general use lanes.

The tall wayfinding pylons also will be constructed at Central Parkway.

The Grand National Drive direct connect ramps will give motorists another route to access nearby retailers and attractions without exiting to Kirkman Road (State Road 435). Other smaller decorative pylons will be spaced throughout the project to help accentuate the corridor and maintain a similar decorative look.

Upon completion, the I-4 Ultimate project will continue to have six non-tolled general use lanes (three in each direction) plus additional auxiliary lanes through certain spans of the project. The four dynamically tolled Express Lanes (two in each direction) will be separated from the general use lanes by concrete barriers. The price will fluctuate according to traffic conditions with the goal of maintaining a speed of 50 mph on the Express Lanes.


I-4 Workers Stay Safe in Heat with Methods All Can Use


There are tips for all of us in how workers on Interstate 4 stay safe in the summer heat.

First, use common sense. Keep a good supply of water nearby and know where to find shade or a cool spot, so you don’t overheat.

The I-4 Ultimate project has a diverse workforce and draw people from all over the nation, who may not have experienced the sometimes blazing Florida heat. And so it’s also true that many new Florida residents may underestimate the effects of heat and humidity in daily activities or weekend recreation. Everyone exposed to the searing Florida weather needs to stay hydrated and remember to take swigs of water before feeling parched.

Energy drinks and caffeinated drinks are discouraged because they may reduce hydration. Frequent pauses to hydrate are highly encouraged. Workers with SGL – the joint construction project of Skanska, Granite and Lane – are encouraged to drink eight to 12 ounces of water every 30 to 45 minutes, even if just doing light activities outside. For more strenuous activities in hot weather, workers should drink more.

Other safety tips include wearing light-colored clothing to help reflect heat, keeping as much skin covered as possible and using sunscreen.

SGL’s heat awareness and heat illness prevention initiatives include extensive training, preparedness and daily dialogue regarding the prevention of heat-related illness. Heat-related illness on the project can range from an uncomfortable heat rash to more advanced conditions such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Water, concrete and sand reflect the suns heat and harmful rays. Sunscreen, although essential and an effective part of our plan, it alone is not enough to keep our team safe.


Spotlight Employee: Andrea Diaz

Construction Intern and Civil Engineering student

Little more than a month into her internship, Andrea Diaz has found that working on the I-4 Ultimate project can be a real proving grounds, testing both physical and mental skills.

Already, she has raked thick, heavy concrete on a freshly poured bridge deck at midnight, stood atop a tall support pier in the middle of Lake Ivanhoe to check its dimensions and reviewed construction plans to calculate schedules for work crews and the supplies they need at various sites.

Of course, she’s been closely supervised and has followed all safety procedures. And if the concrete work left her a bit tired and sore, the experience reaffirmed her decision to go into construction.

“Everybody has been great, and I love learning different skills nearly every day,” said Diaz, who will start her junior year in the civil engineering program at the University of South Florida next semester.

Diaz is following both her father and brother into the field. Indeed, her family moved from Puerto Rico to the Orlando area three years ago when her father – Rey Diaz Sr. P.E. – took a job on the I-4 Ultimate project. He is a scheduler in Area 3. Her brother, Rey Diaz Jr. – a recent civil engineering graduate – also works on the project as a field engineer in Area 2C.

After graduating from West Orange High School, however, Diaz wasn’t so sure she wanted to follow the family trade. A self-described math nerd, she briefly considered “rebelling” in college by going into computer engineering. But the excitement of big construction projects and seeing roads and bridges take shape was too much to ignore.

“I like the working environment of construction,” she said. “I like solving new problems. You learn you have to be willing to face any problem and fix it while maintaining a good attitude.”

This is the second time that Diaz has interned with SGL – the joint construction venture of Skanska, Lane and Granite on the I-4 Ultimate Project. Last summer, she had an office job in human resources that taught her about the variety of construction jobs out there.

This summer, she is experiencing many of them firsthand. She recently conducted soil-bearing tests and is ready for more engineering adventures. “I want to spend the whole day with a drainage crew.”