I-4 Beyond The Ultimate

December 2018

* Planning for More Than 70 New Stormwater Ponds
* I-4 Beyond the Ultimate Construction Closures Take a Break for Winter Holidays
* Employee Spotlight: Paul Wabi, P.E.

Planning for More Than 70 New Stormwater Ponds


In the 40 miles of I-4 Beyond the Ultimate, there are more than 115 stormwater ponds. Design plans include more than 70 new ponds to protect surrounding areas from flooding and to keep pollutants out of Florida’s natural waterways.

Stormwater ponds collect the rain that runs off pavements and other impervious areas to prevent flooding. Later, after pollutants are filtered out, the water is slowly released.

In areas where there is substantial pavement, like highways and busy intersections, ponds must be designed to remove oil, grease and sediment from the runoff. State regulations require the water leaving the pond be at the same quality as the body of water it will flow into. Gravel and dirt at the bottom of the pond filter the stormwater as it seeps into the ground below. As pollutants settle to the bottom, cleaner water can be drained from the top.

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) decides where to build new stormwater ponds by studying nearby locations, taking into account elevations, soil type, the existing water table and what body of water will get the runoff. Engineers also analyze impacts to wetlands and endangered species, cultural resources (like archeological sites), potential for contamination, and potential impacts on nearby utilities.

FDOT publishes a Pond Siting Report as part of its Project Development and Environment (PD&E) Study. The report shows how FDOT reaches its recommendations. The reports are updated later in the design phase of the project.

The Pond Siting Reports for all of the I-4 Beyond the Ultimate design segments are available at i4beyond.com/pde.


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


Nighttime lane, ramp and road closures on the Interstate 4 (I-4) corridor 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 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.

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.


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 many cities and towns, several large entertainment and sports venues and some of the busiest spots on the interstate. But as a multitasking teammate, he also is helping to support projects in the Beyond the Ultimate area, including efforts to connect the Wekiva Parkway to I-4, as well as lending his wide-ranging, practical experience to the project management and design groups.

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 large projects that include 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 major contractor 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.