I-4 Beyond The Ultimate

August 2019


Delivery of monthly I-4 Beyond the Ultimate newsletter
was delayed due to hurricane preparations.

* E.E. Williamson Bridge To Stay Open During Reconstruction
* National Roundabouts Week Starts September 16
* Being Alert, Aware Makes for Safer Back-to-School Driving

E.E. Williamson Bridge To Stay Open During Reconstruction

The E.E. Williamson Road bridge will be built in phases allowing two lanes of vehicular traffic and maintaining safe pedestrian access.

The E.E. Williamson Road bridge over Interstate 4 (I-4) will remain open to trucks, cars, bicyclists, and pedestrians during its complete reconstruction, which will create a brand-new structure more than 25 feet wider than the existing bridge.

Work is scheduled to start in September 2019. The project is anticipated to be complete in January 2021. (Schedule subject to change, as construction progress, roadway conditions, and weather may require schedule adjustments.)

The new bridge is designed with support piers at different intervals to accommodate a new auxiliary lane on I-4 and up to 12 lanes of interstate for future expansions to improve safety and mobility. The new bridge also will have wider lanes for vehicles and separate lanes for bikes and separate sidewalks for pedestrians.

To minimize disruption, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has created a construction plan that allows workers to alternate between building portions of the new bridge while tearing down parts of the existing structure as they become unneeded. To create a safe workspace, the existing lanes will be slightly narrowed when they are shifted away from the portions under construction. In the end, a completely new, wider, pedestrian-friendly bridge will emerge.

Plans call for the two-lane bridge to keep both lanes and a sidewalk open during the day – starting before the morning rush hour and extending into the early evening. To keep work progressing, plans allow for overnight single lane closures from 8 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. At all times during construction, driveway and property access will be maintained.

To ensure safety, the bridge will have maintenance of traffic (MOT) workers to control the flow of vehicles across the bridge at night. Those MOT plans as well as many other structural and material matters are reviewed and monitored for FDOT by WSP USA, a private engineering-services company. The construction contractor is Hubbard Construction Company.

In very general terms, the construction will follow this schedule:

  • September 2019 – Work begins with a focus on building new lanes adjacent to the south side of the current bridge.
  • April 2020 – With a newly built lane in place, work continues to prepare the median area as a temporary traffic lane, so workers can remove portions of the existing bridge that are no longer needed.
  • June 2020 – After removing the northern half of the current bridge, work will focus on building its upgraded replacement.
  • October 2020 – All vehicular, bicyclist and pedestrian lanes should be in place and open.
  • January 2021 – Final details completed.

National Roundabouts Week Starts September 16


The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) reminds residents that National Roundabouts Week is from September 16–20. Currently, there are about 20 roundabouts on Florida’s interstate highway system and more than 300 on local roads statewide.

What is a roundabout? Roundabouts are circular intersections that move counterclockwise around a center island and have no traffic signal. Instead, traffic is determined by entry yield control. Vehicles that flow around the intersection have the right of way, while entering traffic yields to pedestrians and traffic already in the intersection.

Since roundabouts only move in one direction, they virtually eliminate head-on and high-speed right angle collisions. While conventional intersections have 32 conflict points, roundabouts cut that number by 75% to just 8. The Federal Highway Administration states that roundabouts reduce the number of fatalities by up to 90% and result in an overall 76% reduction in injury crashes.

If you’re unfamiliar with using multi-lane roundabouts, the following tips will help you navigate them smoothly as a motorist.

When entering a roundabout, pay attention to upcoming signage for which lane to use.

Remember to yield and check for a safe gap in traffic before joining the roundabout. Once you’re inside the roundabout, don’t stop to let incoming traffic into the intersection – you have the right of way. Always look out for pedestrians at the crosswalks and use your turn signal before you exit.

If you’re a pedestrian, use the designated crosswalks to travel through. Bicyclists can choose to travel through the roundabout as a vehicle, or to walk their bikes across the crosswalks as a pedestrian.


Being Alert, Aware Makes for Safer Back-to-School Driving


School is back in session and that brings with it a number of changes on Central Florida’s roadways. Parents spend part of a busy rush hour with their kids in the car; children await buses at designated stops, and drivers must slow down in school zones.

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) encourages safe driving at all times, but it is especially important to be vigilant and alert during the mornings and afternoons throughout the school year. Always watch out for children walking or riding bicycles, especially in neighborhoods, near schools, crossing the street, standing or playing at bus stops, and in school parking lots.

Motorists should be aware of school zone signals and obey the lower speed limit, which is intended to keep everyone safe.

Motorists should never pass school buses that are loading or unloading children from either direction unless on a divided highway. Drivers should always allow plenty of space for students hurrying to enter or exit the bus.

Florida’s ban on hand-held use in school and work zones goes into effect Oct. 1. And texting while driving is illegal on all Florida roadways as of July 1 this year.

In addition to staying off electronic devices, motorists should avoid the following activities in school zones:

  • Changing lanes
  • U-turns
  • Passing other vehicles
  • Blocking crosswalks
  • Loading or unloading children across the street from schools

Parents should watch for and obey school patrol officers and learn the drop-off procedures for their child’s school in advance. The National Safety Council encourages carpooling to reduce the number of vehicles in the areas surrounding schools.

By being alert and taking the necessary precautions, drivers can make the school year a safer one for both students and other motorists.

Visit the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles web page for more school bus safety tips.