I-4 Beyond The Ultimate

March 2020

* Safety Week Promotes Safe Work Zones for All
* FDOT, FHP and Seminole County Agencies Remind Drivers About New Cell Phone Law
* Construction Spotlight: Barry Johnson

Safety Week Promotes Safe Work Zones for All


April 20–24 marks National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW), an annual event held to remind motorists to stay alert and be prepared for changes in and around work zones.

This year’s theme, “Safe Work Zones for All: Protect workers. Protect road users,” encourages motorists to exercise caution to protect themselves, other drivers, and road workers.

Approximately 40,000 people were injured in work zone crashes during 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Nationwide, work zones saw:

  • 123,810 crashes, 26% of which were caused by speeding, and 40% were rear-end crashes.
  • 754 fatalities from crashes, 124 of which were roadway workers.

Renewed caution is especially important in Florida, which ranked second in the nation for fatal work zone crashes in 2018. Road workers in construction zones throughout Central Florida face the real-life dangers of working in and around ongoing traffic.

A few minor changes can make sure everyone gets home safely at the end of the day.

Lower your speed – In the long run, speeding in work zones saves little time and is only harmful.

Don’t tailgate – The most common work zone crash is a rear-end collision. Maintain a safe distance, as you never know when traffic will stop or slow down.

Pay Attention – Work zones are changing environments. Travel lanes may be different from the last time you drove through the area. Don’t let anything divert your attention from the primary task of driving.

Put Down Your Phone – In Florida, it is a primary offense to handle a wireless communication device while operating a vehicle in a school or work zone. You can be stopped and fined for simply having a phone in your hand.

Remember: When you’re behind the wheel, it is your decision to drive safely.

Show your commitment to keeping yourself and others safe on our roadways by wearing orange on Wednesday, April 22, which is NWZAW’s Go Orange Day. Share your photos and stories to support work zone safety with the hashtag #Orange4Safety.


FDOT, FHP and Seminole County Agencies Remind Drivers About New Cell Phone Law


To reduce distracted driving and increase safety, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) recently partnered with Seminole County officials to remind motorists of the Wireless Communications While Driving Law now in effect. The new Florida state law makes texting while driving a primary offense and prohibits drivers from holding cellphones in active work and school zones.

FDOT District Five Communications staff were joined by Seminole County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Walt Griffin, Seminole County Sheriff’s Office Chief Dan Purcell, and FHP Lt. Kim Montes on February 12 to educate drivers along E.E. Williamson Road in Seminole County.

On this stretch of road, drivers pass through a school zone for Woodlands Elementary School and an adjoining construction zone for the reconstruction of the E.E. Williamson Road bridge over Interstate 4 (I-4). Drivers were reminded that when traveling through work and school zones they must put down phones or other handheld wireless devices.

Texting and driving can not only hurt you and your passengers, but it also puts everyone on the road in danger. Drivers who violate the hands-free portion of the law now receive a minimum $60 fine with additional county and court fees, plus points on their licenses. As an alternative, hands-free devices may be used.

For additional information about the Wireless Communications While Driving Law, visit flhsmv.gov/focusondriving.

For more information about I-4 Beyond the Ultimate projects in Seminole County, including the reconstruction of the E.E. Williamson Road bridge over I-4, visit I4Beyond.com/Seminole.


Construction Spotlight: Barry Johnson
Project Administrator for Construction, Engineering and Inspection

Barry Johnson knows highway systems around the state as a roadbuilder, resident of the Orlando metro area and a longtime Floridian. All three points of view still shape his professional outlook.

As a road construction expert, he helps inspect I-4 Beyond the Ultimate work in Seminole and Volusia counties, including the E.E. Williamson Road bridge project. As a Central Florida resident, he’s keenly aware of what it means to be a commuter in a fast-growing region. And as a someone who has spent most of his life in Florida, he knows many friends and relatives will drive the roads he inspects for safety and quality.

“I want to make sure everything from the concrete to the construction process to the placement of highway safety features gets done right,” said Johnson, who works for WSP.

As an inspector of engineering and construction, he also double-checks traffic safety features that keep workers and drivers safe, and he even rechecks tests run by other companies.

Johnson grew up in Panama City. After high school, he worked in construction, earned a degree from Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville, and then started taking civil engineering classes at the University of Central Florida. Before he could finish the program, the engineering company where he interned offered him a job. He took it and has been working ever since.

After 32 years in the business, he still enjoys it. “I like working on a new project every couple of years, and many times I’ll work with people I’ve met on previous projects. So, it makes for a good team.”

There’s always something new to learn. “You can have very big challenges on smaller projects,” Johnson said. “But being part of the huge effort to improve Interstate 4 in Central Florida is great. I tell my friends, if you can be patient, you’ll see that this will be an amazing project and the increased safety and mobility will be well worth it.”

In his spare time, Johnson likes to fish and spend time with friends and family.