I-4 Beyond The Ultimate

July 2018

* Innovative Echelon Interchanges Included in I-4 Beyond Designs
* Employee Spotlight: Su Hao, P.E
* Illuminating the Path Forward with New Lighting Features

Innovative Echelon Interchanges Included in I-4 Beyond Designs

Rendering depicts proposed echelon interchange at Apopka Vineland Road and Hotel Plaza Boulevard.

Project designs of I-4 Beyond the Ultimate include the use of innovative interchanges to improve traffic flow and reinforce safety throughout the 40 miles.

One such interchange, known as an echelon interchange, is being proposed for the Apopka Vineland Road (State Road 535) around the Interstate 4 (I-4) interchange and potentially other areas.

An echelon interchange is designed to assist in regulating traffic by elevating one approach on each an arterial and cross street. The other approach intersects at grade.

This allows most echelon interchanges to have only two traffic signal phases with longer green lights and a shorter wait time than at typical crossings. Echelon interchanges aim to alleviate congestion in high-traffic areas.

Other innovative designs include diverging diamond interchanges, which are being designed for several interchanges on I-4 Beyond the Ultimate, including Sand Lake Road (State Road 482), Lake Mary Boulevard and County Road 46A.

Two echelon interchanges are planned for Apopka Vineland Road at Hotel Plaza Boulevard and at Vineland Road. Once constructed, they will be the first of their kind on the I-4 corridor.


Employee Spotlight: Su Hao, P.E.

Project Manager on
I-4 Beyond the Ultimate

Su Hao loves looking at bridges and comparing various styles through the ages and across cultures. It’s one of the things that drew him to civil engineering. Bridges, he says, combine physics, aesthetics and practical needs in a way that really makes his profession come alive.

“When you look at the ancient Roman arches, you can see all those parts working together,” Hao said. “You can see the physics and how the loads flow down the columns. They’re beautiful.”

He brings that same respect for creating enduring and essential infrastructure to the I-4 Beyond the Ultimate project. “It’s such a blessing to be part of this work to help people travel more safely and easily,” said Hao, who was born in Beijing and came to the U.S., where his father completed a doctorate degree and had a long career as a civil engineer.

But Hao doesn’t need historical references to be reminded of the impact of I-4 Beyond in his role as a project manager for the Florida Department of Transportation.

“I see constant reminders of how important it is every day. I see developments that are going up, and they’re all counting on I-4 to be improved and to handle future traffic flows. Residents and businesses wonder how it will affect them. It’s very eye-opening. I never want to lose sight of the fact that we are serving the needs of the community.”

He’s grateful, too, for colleagues who help him deal with a variety of challenging issues from concerned residents to complex work scheduling to funding and budgeting – issues hardly touched upon in his college engineering courses.

In addition to his public-spirited motivations, Hao has his own personal reasons for wanting to make sure the work proceeds safely and on schedule. He got married a couple of months ago and his wife still lives and works in Tampa. So each weekend, he navigates Interstate 4 from DeLand to Tampa and back.

He knows firsthand the frustrations of commuters and the thrill of seeing the gradual, steady progress of the project. “I can hardly wait for it all to be complete.”


Illuminating the Path Forward with New Lighting Features


In addition to reconstructing the roadway, the I-4 Ultimate project is improving the motorist experience by installing new lighting features throughout the project limits. Motorists traveling outside of the 21-mile project limits may see familiar features, as the design for the I-4 Beyond the Ultimate project calls for similar lights.

The new lights are LEDs, and they are designed to be more energy efficient, easier to maintain or repair and cover a greater area than existing lights.

The lighting fixtures will tower 40 to 45 feet above the mainline interstate and ramps as well as on secondary and arterial roadways.

The lighting design and placement aims to provide a steady level of illumination for motorists and an even distribution of light over the roadway.

Spillover of roadway lighting will be nominal, ensuring the light stays on the mainline and ramps and not onto adjacent properties.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, LED lights save a significant amount of energy. They may use at least 75 percent less energy and last up to 25 times longer than traditional incandescent lights. LED lights also operate at a cooler temperature, so they preserve and use that energy rather than burning it as heat.

There will be many variations of poles. Height and overhang depend on where the pole is placed and how far the light should spread out or be concentrated.

Lighting fixtures generally have four or six lighting modules that determine their brightness and coverage.

A common arrangement on the mainline will have six-module light panels with a 315-watt output while the ramps to and from the interstate often have four-module light panels with a 213-watt output.

Permanent lighting already can be seen in certain portions of the I-4 Ultimate project such as near the Grand National Drive overpass and along westbound Interstate 4 (I-4) near the Michigan Street interchange.