i-4 Ultimate

December 2018

* Bridge Girders Set at Highest Point of I-4 and S.R. 408 Interchange
* I-4 Ultimate Team Builds Concrete Plant
* I-4 Ultimate Construction Closures Take a Break for Winter Holidays
* SGL Brings Holiday Cheer With Annual Season of Giving
* Employee Spotlight: Paul Wabi, P.E.

Bridge Girders Set at Highest Point of I-4 and S.R. 408 Interchange

See a gallery of images from this project milestone at: fdot.tips/408photos

Nighttime crews capped the tallest pier on the entire I-4 Ultimate project when they set its first bridge girders in place during the weekend of December 7.

Towering 120 feet above the ground, the pier stands near the intersection of Division Avenue and Carter Street. It supports the westbound State Road (S.R.) 408 flyover ramp to westbound Interstate 4 (I-4). At the tallest point, this flyover ramp crosses over the eastbound and westbound S.R. 408 travel lanes, as well as two other flyover ramps — westbound I-4 to eastbound S.R. 408 and eastbound I-4 to westbound S.R. 408.

Nine girders were set during the weekend of December 7. Dozens more need to be placed to complete the support structure for the westbound S.R. 408 flyover ramp to westbound I-4. But progress continues at the interchange, as girder placement is almost two-thirds complete with 200 girders set to date — not including the ones in other parts of downtown Orlando. When finished, there will be 2.2 miles of tub girders to support the flyover ramps at the I-4 and S.R. 408 interchange. (Tub girders are the large U-shaped beams that support the flyover ramps.)

In addition to being the tallest point for the I-4 Ultimate project, this new flyover ramp will also solve a decade-old curiosity for many Orlando residents. In 2008, interim improvements at the I-4 and S.R. 408 interchange introduced a new westbound S.R. 408 ramp to eastbound I-4 where it abruptly ended that some called a bridge to nowhere. The westbound S.R. 408 flyover ramp to westbound I-4 currently under construction will connect to this ramp.

While a series of interim improvements to the I-4 and S.R. 408 occurred more than a decade ago as part of the Trans4mation project, many of those changes helped lay the foundation for today’s I-4 Ultimate project. As funding became available, the I-4 Ultimate project became a reality in 2015. However, planning by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to improve the I-4 corridor through downtown Orlando started much earlier.

Interested in watching the progress of the new I-4 and S.R. 408 interchange? Log on to i4ultimate.com/cameras to view the live video feed of this interchange.


I-4 Ultimate Team Builds Concrete Plant


In an effort to maintain supply, safety and quality, the I-4 Ultimate team has built its own concrete batch plant near Interstate 4 (I-4).

The plant, which is expected to be in operation as early as January 2019, is located at Orange Blossom Trail (U.S. 17-92/441) and 34th Street. The plant is the idea and the work of SGL – the joint construction venture of Skanska, Granite and Lane on the I-4 Ultimate project. SGL owns and will operate the concrete facility.

The main uses for the concrete will be to build express lanes and barrier walls that separate those lanes from the general use lanes.

The concrete plant is a major indicator the SGL is ready for production of the express lanes. The new plant ensures the contractor is ready to meet the demand for increased material once construction of express lanes is at full steam.

By making and mixing the essential building material next to the work site, SGL expects to save time and ensure quality while avoiding any waits for trucks that are hauling it from farther away.

The SGL plant, though temporary, uses state-of-the-art technology, including a method of preparing the concrete so that it remains liquid longer and does not start to harden or dry out before reaching its destination.

SGL also will purchase several trucks to transport the loads and will rent other equipment as needed to keep the process moving.

The four express lanes (two in each direction) will be made of concrete to minimize maintenance needs of the lanes that will be in the center of the newly rebuilt interstate.


I-4 Ultimate Construction Closures Take a Break for Winter Holidays


Nighttime lane, ramp and road closures on the I-4 Ultimate project will scale down during the winter holidays.

The majority of construction closures on the interstate will be suspended from the morning of Monday, December 24, through Wednesday, January 2. Although regularly scheduled I-4 Ultimate construction closures are not occurring over the holidays, existing work zones will remain in effect and crews will continue to maintain travel lanes and conduct routine maintenance.

There are a few exceptions to the suspension of construction closures including nightly lane closures on Interstate 4 (I-4) between Maitland and Longwood and nightly ramp closures on the eastbound I-4 exit to Maitland Boulevard (State Road 414). Check i4ultimate.com for exact dates and times of the nightly closures.

Motorists are reminded to use caution while traveling through work zones. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) encourages drivers to allow extra travel time and to use extra caution in existing work zones. Drivers are urged to make sure they buckle up, along with their passengers. FDOT and other safety agencies also ask drivers to obey speed limits, get adequate rest before traveling, avoid distractions and never drink and drive.


I-4 Ultimate Team Brings Holiday Cheer With Annual Season of Giving

SGL Food Drive delivery volunteers and coordinators help bring holiday cheer to the community (from left): Riann Minnich, Cindy Peabody, Stacey Decknick, Danielle Maki, Elizabeth Dinan, Brian Palau, Steve Catalano and Bob Stallings (not pictured: Nadine Albert).

The I-4 Ultimate team is investing as much into the community as it does into improving the roadway.

This holiday season the team is involved in numerous charitable efforts around Central Florida.

SGL Constructors — the joint venture of Skanska, Granite and Lane — began their annual Season of Giving on November 1 by calling on all members of the I-4 Ultimate team to collect non-perishable food and personal hygiene items to donate to the Killarney Elementary School food bank.

The gifts are gathered from all four construction offices of the project, as well as participants from the Florida Department of Transportation, HNTB, Volkert, Jacobs and HDR.

More than a quarter of the Killarney Elementary students do not have permanent homes and live in motels or with relatives or friends.

These students receive food packages every Friday, but during the extended holiday weeks in November and December, the food bank often finds itself short on available items to distribute.

SGL delivered all the donated items at Killarney Elementary on November 16.

SGL’s Season of Giving continues in December with the collection of over-the-counter cold and flu remedies and a donation of food items to a local homeless shelter.


Employee Spotlight: Paul Wabi, P.E.
I-4 Ultimate Construction Program Manager

As the top manager for the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) on the I-4 Ultimate construction project, Paul Wabi knows he has a monumental task — make that hundreds of them.

After all, the 21-mile reconstruction project of Interstate 4 goes through the heart of Orlando and stretches from Kirkman Road (State Road 435) in Orange County to State Road 434 in Seminole County. Along the route are several large governments, large entertainment and sports venues, and some of the busiest spots on the interstate.

What would make someone who loved the predictability of engineering and math want to take on the ever-changing challenges posed by a crucial business and commuting corridor?

“It’s exciting to be part of a public-private project that incudes so many municipalities, highway structures, interchanges, commuters and businesses,” Wabi said. “But it’s also a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help so many people by improving their transportation safety and mobility.”

He thanks residents and commuters for their patience. “We always remember who we serve,” Wabi said. “This will transform Central Florida transportation, but as we progress, the roadway will continue to change. So, we also ask for people’s patience when driving for their own safety and for the safety of others. We continue to look for ways to accelerate construction while minimizing the impact.”

For convenience and safety, major construction requiring lane closures usually takes place during overnight hours. To accelerate work, a the I-4 Ultimate team is even building its own concrete plant near the interstate.

Wabi said he enjoys building relationships with residents, city and county officials, consultants, contractors, and businesses large and small. The work also allows him to mentor others, so they become effective team members and can grow their careers. But he isn’t looking to mold people in his own image. “I like a diversity of thinking and talent,” he said. “I like to manage different styles of personalities and outlooks. I don’t want to hire me.”

A graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in civil engineering, Wabi worked on progressively larger projects for FDOT, managing engineering and construction tasks before coming to the I-4 Ultimate project in April. He also learned to handle difficult circumstances while in the U.S. Army for three years, including service during the First Gulf War.

Wabi, whose family is originally from Lebanon, was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Mexico, where his grandfather was a homebuilder. As a youngster, he saw how his interest in math and science related to construction. “I was fascinated by how houses were built and how they seemed so rigid and unbending, yet are actually made to allow for some sway and motion.”

The movements he learned about include expanding and contracting with the temperature, withstanding heavy storms, and being able to roll with the punches, so to speak, during ground tremors — an early lesson that still serves him well.