i-4 Ultimate

May 2021

* Behind the Art: Sculptor Mark Aeling Introduces Altamonte Springs’ Newest Residents
* FDOT Thanks Partners for “Going Orange” for Work Zone Awareness Week
* I-4 Ultimate Improvements on General Use Lanes and Major Interchanges
* Observing Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

Behind the Art: Sculptor Mark Aeling Introduces Altamonte Springs’ Newest Residents

Mark Aeling works on “Nurture” on May 21 for the city of Altamonte Springs’ Cranes Roost Park as part of the I-4 Ultimate Project Art Endowment Program.

Mark Aeling is excited for Altamonte Springs’ Cranes Roost Park visitors to discover the area’s latest art piece.

Wearing a straw hat to keep cool from the Florida sun as he puts the finishing touches on his 19-foot, stainless steel sculpture, Aeling said it was designed to create a narrative for guests.

“From certain angles, it becomes abstract, and you see the interesting shapes. But as you look around it, the image becomes clear,” Aeling said.

“What would be more appropriate than a roosting crane?” he asked.

The artwork, named “Nurture,” was commissioned by the I-4 Ultimate Improvement Project Art Endowment Program – an initiative that set aside $1.5 million to fund permanent art installations in various cities and counties along the corridor.

The city of Altamonte Springs selected Aeling from the hundreds of artists who submitted entries. The entire process from artist selection to sculpture installation took about a year and a half. Fabrication alone took three months.

The sculpture comprises hundreds of components and weighs 13,000 pounds. It is made entirely from flat metal plates that have been shaped by water jet cutting. The sculpture is large enough for drivers on Interstate 4 (I-4) near Cranes Roost Park to see it, too. 

“I’ve done a number of pieces to this scale before, but this one was very complicated,” Aeling said. “We had to keep transportation in mind and be able to drive it up the I-4 corridor. Stainless steel is also very challenging to work with. It is a durable material, but it is very fluid when introducing heat from welding into the process.”

Although it is complicated, Aeling is no newbie to the process. The St. Petersburg native started creating art at a young age and stuck with the craft, earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees and then opening his own workshop, MGA Sculpture Studio.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to make the piece and appreciate Altamonte Springs selecting me and I-4 Ultimate making the opportunity available,” Aeling said. 

Mark Aeling was selected by the city of Altamonte to design and install a sculpture in their city. The public artwork was funded by the I-4 Ultimate Art Endowment Fund. Watch the video to learn more and see his piece come together.

FDOT Thanks Partners for “Going Orange” for Work Zone Awareness Week

Click on image above to view video.

Work Zone Awareness Week, observed April 26-30 this year, helped raise awareness nationally about driving safely in construction zones. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) would like to thank Central Florida organizations for participating through a synchronized lighting process. The following organizations illuminated their facilities in orange light to support workers improving our roadways and to raise awareness that work zone safety is everyone’s job:

  • The City of Orlando
  • Lake Eola Fountain
  • Amway Center
  • Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
  • LYNX
  • City of Daytona Beach

National Work Zone Awareness Week is made possible through a partnership of state departments of transportation, national road safety organizations, government agencies, private companies, and individuals.

Safe driving practices should continue outside of Work Zone Awareness Week. As a reminder, the entire 21-mile length of the I-4 Ultimate Improvement Project is still an active work zone. In Florida, drivers are expected to yield the right of way to a pedestrian, flag person, or escort vehicle. Drivers should also obey posted speed limits and put their phones down.


I-4 Ultimate Improvements on General Use Lanes and Major Interchanges

Click on image above to view video.

Motorists who drive on Interstate 4 (I-4) in Central Florida are experiencing a smoother commute and enhanced safety throughout the corridor with the substantial completion of the general use lanes. The lanes all were shifted into their final alignment at the end of 2020, and final paving is ongoing. Curious about what progress has been done so far? Watch this video to find out!


Observing Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month


Riding a motorcycle can be an exhilarating experience.

There is plenty to enjoy: the sudden burst in acceleration, the feel of the wind rushing past – not to mention a motorcycle can make almost anyone look cooler. Of course, riding a motorcycle carries a lot of responsibility and risks, too.

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, educating motorcyclists about the risks and reminding other drivers to be aware of their surroundings at all times.

Riding a motorcycle is inherently riskier than driving a car, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Highway Loss Data Institute. For one thing, motorcycles are less stable than passenger vehicles during maneuvers such as emergency braking and swerving. Motorcycles also lack the protection of an enclosed vehicle, and they are less visible on the road.

Crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) confirms those risks. In 2019, there were 8,895 motorcycle crashes resulting in 550 deaths. Of the 550 people who died, 521 were operating a motorcycle and 29 were passengers. Nearly half of them were not wearing helmets.

Wearing a helmet when operating a motorcycle can save your life. According to NHTSA, wearing a helmet reduces the risk of dying in a crash by 37 percent. Florida law also requires that all riders under 21 must wear a helmet.

While many safety precautions apply to motorcyclists, other drivers should be aware of motorcyclists, too. Drivers should do the following when near motorcyclists:

  • Always check blind spots.
  • Initiate your turn signal sooner than normal when around a motorcycle to reduce the chance of sudden collision.
  • Be courteous when passing a motorcycle. A gust of wind from a passing vehicle can make a motorcycle unstable.
  • Remember to share the road.

So, do you think you know all the ins and outs when it comes to motorcycle safety? Check out our quiz to test your knowledge.