I-4 Beyond The Ultimate

November 2018

* EB I-4 Exit Ramp to Saxon Blvd. Shifting to New Configuration Following Weekend-Long Closure
* Employee Spotlight: Beata Stys-Palasz, P.E.
* FDOT and Law Enforcement Remind Drivers to Maintain Safe Speeds Throughout I-4 Ultimate Work Zones
* Travel Safely This Holiday Season With Resources From FDOT
* Share the Message of Older Driver Safety Awareness Week

EB I-4 Exit Ramp to Saxon Blvd. Shifting to New Configuration Following Weekend-Long Closure


The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is opening a reconfigured eastbound I-4 exit ramp to Saxon Boulevard (Exit 111A) the morning of Monday, December 10.

The new configuration will add a traffic signal at the end of the ramp. This will give motorists exiting I-4 protected access to Saxon Boulevard and make it easier to turn left onto Finland Drive. The new ramp is also wider with two lanes at the intersection with Saxon Boulevard. During the week of December 10, motorists should expect continued construction in this area as crews finish curb and guardrail work.

The ramp shift follows a weekend-long closure of the ramp beginning at 11 p.m. on Friday, December 7 and concluding at 5 a.m. on December 10.

View, download or share a handout detailing the weekend-long closure and ramp shift at fdot.tips/saxon.

Modifications or extensions to this schedule may become necessary due to weather delays or other unforeseen conditions. Motorists are advised to maintain a safe speed when driving through the work zone.


Employee Spotlight: Beata Stys-Palasz, P.E.

Senior Project Manager on I-4 Beyond the Ultimate

Although the I-4 Ultimate project has only been under construction since 2015, Senior Project Manager Beata Stys-Palasz has been working on it in one way or another for 15 years.

That’s testimony to the meticulous advanced planning of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and to one engineer’s dedication to the interstate project. For Stys-Palasz, the years of effort spent helping to create a signature corridor have made her involvement quite personal. She describes her devotion to improving safety and mobility on Interstate 4 (I-4) in a very human, almost parental, way.

“I have a very specific relationship with I-4,” Stys-Palasz said. “When I talk about I-4, I’m saying she did that. ... I really want her to grow up, be ready, look beautiful and really function like she should.”

Stys-Palasz began her work on the I-4 Ultimate project as a designer back in 2003 when feasibility studies were still underway. “If you spend so much time and energy to design a project over so many years, you form attachments,” she said. “I get personally involved, and it becomes a part of my life.”

That commitment, of course, stands on a solid foundation in math and science. Her engineering work stretches back to Poland, where she grew up and earned a master’s degree in structural engineering at the Technical University of Gdansk. She began working for FDOT in 1993. And before long, she was designing bridges for the I-4 and John Young Parkway interchange. It led her to an ongoing interest in how best to guide the growth of the interstate, so it can support the region’s lifestyle and economy well into the future.

That goal continues in her current role with the I-4 Beyond the Ultimate project, which will seamlessly extend the I-4 makeover to the north into Seminole and Volusia, and to the south into Osceola and Polk counties. “We want drivers to have a safe roadway with better mobility and predictable travel times.”

When not working on the I-4 project, Stys-Palasz enjoys gardening, paddle boarding and working with Polonia Orlando — the Polish Club of Orlando. There, she is responsible for all social media relations. The club is promoting Polish heritage in Florida.


FDOT and Law Enforcement Remind Drivers to Maintain Safe Speeds Throughout I-4 Ultimate Work Zones


The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and local law enforcement agencies are banding together to remind drivers to maintain safe speeds throughout the I-4 Ultimate work zone.

The speed limit ranges from 50 to 60 mph across the project. Changing traffic patterns, an increased number of workers on the project and — above all else — safety are just some of the factors that FDOT and law enforcement want drivers to bear in mind while driving through the 21-mile work zone.

To date, there have been more than 150 traffic shifts on the project. Driving the speed limit ensures that motorists have ample time to comprehend the changing traffic patterns and safely navigate the new configurations.

The I-4 Ultimate work zone also is more active than ever. The project currently employs 1,065 craft workers and about 500 subcontractors. Maintaining a safe speed allows drivers to be more vigilant and decreases the risk of crashing in a work zone.

FDOT and law enforcement are increasing visibility for their safe speed campaign by:

  • Conducting additional traffic enforcement operations
  • Posting messaging on billboards
  • Airing radio public safety announcements
  • Tweeting weekly via @I4Ultimate
  • Providing shareable videos and social media content on I4Ultimate.com/safespeed

Drive the speed limit. It makes the road safer for you, your passengers, other drivers and the crews working to improve I-4.


Travel Safely This Holiday Season With Resources From FDOT


Drivers in Florida should be aware of the resources the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has to keep them safe and mobile.

Before getting in the car, motorists can use Florida 511 to look up traffic conditions on their planned route. That real-time information allows them to choose an alternate route to avoid delays caused by traffic or crashes. Florida 511 is available via app, website and phone call.

While on the road, Florida residents and visitors who experience flat tires or minor mechanical issues within a major metro area can request assistance from an FDOT Road Ranger by calling *FHP (*347) on their mobile phone. The Road Rangers are a free service from FDOT, which provides assistance to stranded motorists to help them get back on the road. Services include changing flat tires, minor mechanical repairs and providing emergency gasoline. Road Rangers are available on interstate highways and many toll roads in Central and South Florida, Gainesville and Jacksonville, including Interstate 10 between Tallahassee and Pensacola.

FDOT encourages all motorists to drive safely, obey the speed limit, avoid driving drowsy and move over for emergency vehicles on the side of the road.


Share the Message of Older Driver Safety Awareness Week


Florida residents and visitors are invited to join Older Driver Safety Awareness Week on December 3–7 to learn how to remain safe, mobile and independent.

Each year, the Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) Safe Mobility for Life Program and Coalition partners with the American Occupational Therapy Association’s Older Driver Safety Awareness Week to promote the importance of knowing how to drive safely longer, and how to remain active and independent long after transitioning from driving.

Many classes, events and activities are available during Older Driver Safety Awareness Week.

Being able to get around easily to maintain an active lifestyle is critically important to health and well-being. More than 70 percent of Floridians surveyed say driving is central to their independence and 67 percent fear that giving up driving would mean isolation, according to Florida’s 2017 Aging Road User Survey.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle that allows people to stay connected to their community without driving begins with knowing The Keys to Achieve Safe Mobility for Life. The Keys are: understand, be proactive and plan.

The Safe Mobility for Life Coalition provides resources that can help people continue their safe-driving records and stay connected to the people important to them and to the activities they love long after they have transitioned from driving. Download Florida’s Guide for Aging Drivers in English or Spanish. To order a free copy and other materials, please contact The Safe Mobility for Life Resource Center at Pepper Institute on Aging and Public Policy, PO Box 3061121, Tallahassee, FL 32306.