I-4 Beyond The Ultimate

October 2021

* New Intelligent Wrong Way Signs Improve Safety on I-4
* New Bridge Over I-4 Is Complete
* Quiz: National Pedestrian Safety Month
* Pedestrian and Bicycle Movements at Future I-4 Diverging Diamond Interchanges
* Beyond the Ultimate Spotlight: Katherine (Katie) Deese, Associate Contract Support Specialist

New Intelligent Wrong Way Signs Improve Safety on I-4

Click on image above to view video.

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has completed the implementation of 17 Wrong Way Vehicle Detection Systems (WWVDS) at select Interstate 4 (I-4) exit ramps in Orange, Seminole, and Volusia counties.

Wrong-way driving incidents occur when a driver has not observed posted traffic signs and proceeds in a lane going the wrong direction, increasing the risk of a head-on collision. To reduce wrong-way driving incidents, the new WWVDS will alert drivers who are attempting to enter the interstate on an exit ramp.

In September 2020, FDOT began constructing new wrong-way signage, roadway reflectors, and pavement markings on select I-4 ramps in Central Florida. Each sign is equipped with various technologies to detect vehicles traveling the wrong way. Once triggered, lights on the signs begin to flash to notify the driver they are traveling in the wrong direction. If the motorist continues the wrong way, radar detection sends alerts to FDOT traffic managers and law enforcement. The FDOT systems also broadcast a wrong-way driver alert on electronic messaging boards along the interstate system to warn other motorists.

Motorists can expect to see detection signs at eastbound and westbound exit ramps at the following I-4 interchanges:

  • Central Florida Parkway
  • Sand Lake Road (State Road (S.R.) 482)
  • Lake Mary Boulevard
  • County Road 46A
  • S.R. 46
  • Orange Boulevard/U.S. 17-92
  • Dirksen Drive
  • Saxon Boulevard

For more information on WWVDS and how they improve roadway safety visit I4Beyond.com/WrongWay.


New Bridge Over I-4 Is Complete

Click on image above to view video.

The reconstruction of the E.E. Williamson Road bridge over Interstate 4 (I-4) officially completed this month. Work began in September 2019 to lengthen and widen the E.E. Williamson Road overpass to make room for the wider I-4 footprint below. Watch this month’s feature video to learn more about the safety features of this project.


Quiz: National Pedestrian Safety Month

Take a quiz  and test your knowledge on pedestrian safety and see how ready you are to do your part.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recognizes October as National Pedestrian Safety Month to stress the importance of pedestrian safety, and to remind drivers, bicyclists, and walkers that safety is a shared responsibility. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), its division of the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) have joined forces to share educational information throughout the month to help keep motorists and pedestrians safe. Take this quiz to test your knowledge.


Pedestrian and Bicycle Movements at Future I-4 Diverging Diamond Interchanges


With multiple diverging diamond interchanges (DDIs) coming to the Interstate 4 (I-4) corridor in the coming years, many cyclists and pedestrians may be interested in learning how to navigate these innovative interchanges. The design of these interchanges may seem different at first to those who have never seen one before, but it’s simple to walk, run, or bike through a DDI.

Based on available land in the interchange’s footprint, DDIs can provide pedestrian walkways in slightly different ways. For example, new sidewalks at the DDI being constructed at the I-4 and County Road (C.R.) 532 interchange near ChampionsGate are being built along the outside of the DDI.

In some DDI designs, the sidewalks follow the path of the DDI — for example, the I-4 and Sand Lake Road (State Road 482) interchange. Construction is anticipated to begin in late 2022 to reconfigure this interchange to a DDI.

This style of DDI design has pedestrians crossing traffic at the signal in the designated crosswalk to reach a median and then proceed to the other side of the interchange in an area protected from traffic by a barrier wall. At the other side of the interchange, they simply cross back over at the crosswalk. Bicyclists have the option of riding through the DDI in designated bike lanes or they can walk their bike through the interchange on the pedestrian walkways.

Cyclists who opt to ride through the DDI can stay in the designated bike lane alongside traffic and follow the advance signage and pavement markings. When traffic shifts to the left side of the road after the initial traffic signal, cyclists will be on the inside rather than the outside. The bike lane will shift back to the outside after the second traffic signal when traffic returns to the right side of the roadway.

By following signage and pavement markings, pedestrians and cyclists can move through a DDI safely and easily.


Beyond the Ultimate Spotlight: Katherine (Katie) Deese, Associate Contract Support Specialist

At first, it might not seem clear how a college degree in art history prepares people for dealing with highway construction. The two fields – artistic creation and construction administration – seem worlds apart.

But about 18 months ago, Katie Deese saw the parallels immediately. It was right after the COVID-19 pandemic led to shrinking crowds at galleries and museums and dwindling jobs for art historians. Other art experts might not see highway construction as a viable Plan B. But Deese viewed it as a natural, if unexpected, place to land.

“I grew up in this business,” said Deese, who is now an Associate Contract Support Specialist with the Construction Engineering & Inspection (CEI) team for I-4 Beyond the Ultimate’s project at ChampionsGate. “When my father and I would drive up and down roads in Polk County, he would say, ‘I built this, and I helped build that.’” She learned, too, how those new or improved roads increased traffic safety for the traveling public.

So, when she began documenting some of the construction work on the I-4 Beyond the Ultimate project, she drew on past skills.

Studying art history at the University of Florida taught her to be alert to minute details and to appreciate the methods and materials used to create paintings and sculptures.

“Although I knew a lot about the construction business, I didn’t know the contracts and detailed plans behind it all,” Deese said. “But I like learning something new. I like challenges.”

During the past year and a half, she learned to work with subcontractors and process sublets, and to process monthly and final progress estimates, supplemental agreements, and work orders. She even caught some inconsistencies in her project's asphalt documentation. For instance, she assisted in revising the quality control roadway report.

“We have to make sure the project's as-builts matches the description of the conditions we encounter in the field.”

For example, if an unforeseen drainage issue requires extra underground piping for proper drainage, then it must be documented in detail. “We have to leave a record, so if 10 years from now someone digs there, they will know what’s underground.”

Today, Deese also is enjoying doing her part in continuing the family tradition. Her father works as a Senior Project Administrator at the same company. Her grandfather had his own paving company in Polk County.

Construction was so much a part of family life that holidays at her grandparents’ house might include a ride in the bucket of a front-end loader.

These days, her sister owns her own natural gas and underground utilities business and Deese’s fiancé works in the CEI field as well. Deese also likes the strong parallel she found between her family’s third generation in construction and the philosophy behind her new company’s training goals.

“We’re not just building roads,” she says. “We’re building the future of the roadbuilding business.”