With a goal of improving safety, mobility and connectivity in Central Florida, the I-4 Beyond the Ultimate is six design projects and several interim projects — all with the goal of rebuilding and improving 40 miles of Interstate 4 (I-4). I-4 Beyond the Ultimate is an extension of the I-4 Ultimate Project that continues the reconstruction of I-4 20 miles to the east and 20 miles to the west. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) oversees both projects – I-4 Beyond the Ultimate and I-4 Ultimate.
It will improve the pavement, bridges and interchanges. It also will improve the aesthetics (the look and design). In addition, the work will make significant upgrades to the infrastructure to allow for the collection and communication of vital traffic data. That helps support innovative technologies such connected vehicles (cars and trucks that communicate with each other) and self-driving cars.
The project will improve about 40 miles of I-4 Ultimate. It picks up where the I-4 Ultimate project leaves off. It adds 20 miles to eastern end and 20 miles to the western end of I-4 Ultimate. The projects, of course, will connect seamlessly. I-4 Beyond the Ultimate adds Express Lanes to the interstate, but the addition will not cause the loss of any of the non-tolled general use lanes.
The project extends about 20 miles beyond the eastern end of I-4 Ultimate, stretching from east of S.R. 434 in Seminole County to just east of S.R. 472 in Volusia County. On the western end, the project will run about 20 miles from west of Kirkman Road in Orange County through part of Osceola County to just west of the U.S. 27 interchange in Polk County.
While state and federal funding has been designated for several sections, the area closest to a construction date is Segment 2, which is a 4.6-mile section that runs between west of Central Florida Parkway and west of and Kirkman Road (S.R. 435). That work may start in early 2020.
The project is divided into six design segments. Each must undergo a stringent, multi-step process that includes planning, environmental study, preliminary design, right-of-way considerations, design and construction. While the sections stand at different points in the overall process, the important Development and Environment (PD&E) Reevaluation Study has been finalized for the entire project.
At the Daryl Carter Parkway, an interim project will add an eastbound I-4 entrance and exit ramps and a westbound I-4 exit ramp, as the interchange eventually becomes a Diverging Diamond. FDOT expects construction to begin in 2020.
The construction of an additional lane on eastbound I-4 from near State Road 434 in Longwood to west of Lake Mary Boulevard and the reconstruction of the E.E. Williamson bridge over I-4 are also funded for construction in 2020.
The PD&E Study process was developed by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) in response to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. The study helps ensure that transportation projects are developed with consideration of current engineering standards, project costs and minimization of social and environmental impacts. It also seeks to involve the public throughout the entire study process. You can learn more about the process here.
The overall goal of the study is to develop a viable roadway concept that satisfies the project purpose and need while, at the same time, minimizing social, economic and environmental impacts. It also incorporates community input. The study also will insure the project receives approval from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), FDOT and agency partners. The results of the study will help determine the type, location and design configuration of the I-4 Beyond the Ultimate project.
Express Lanes are an innovative solution to manage traffic congestion and provide choices for travelers. This project provides additional lanes with restricted access points, and dynamic toll pricing based on the level of congestion in the adjacent non-tolled general purpose lanes. It provides more reliable travel options for motorists.
FDOT is committed to continuing public outreach throughout the duration of the project. A website, social media, newsletters, surveys, meetings and presentations, as well as ongoing communication through the media will be used to solicit feedback and keep the public informed of the status of the project and community outreach activities.