I-4 Beyond The Ultimate

December 2022

* I-4 Construction Crews Execute Emergency Shoulder Use Plan for Hurricane Ian
* Video: Daryl Carter Parkway Construction Begins
* QUIZ: Drive Sober This Holiday Season

I-4 Construction Crews Execute Emergency Shoulder Use Plan for Hurricane Ian

Crews working on the ongoing capacity construction projects in Osceola County accelerated work prior to Hurricane Ian to help accommodate easier evacuations using emergency shoulder use.

During the 2022 hurricane season, the Emergency Shoulder Use (ESU) plan for Interstate 4 (I-4) in Osceola County was implemented to enable Floridians fleeing Hurricane Ian to evacuate swiftly and safely.

emergency shoulder use

In the event of a major hurricane, ESU is a strategy that involves opening a shoulder to traffic to increase highway capacity to aid in evacuations. The implementation of ESU requires the coordinated effort of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), other law enforcement agency partners, and contractors. ESU was first implemented in Florida in 2017 to assist with evacuations on Interstate 75 (I-75). The ESU plan for eastbound I-4 extends from U.S. 41 in Tampa to State Road (S.R.) 417 in Osceola County.

On Saturday, September 24, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved Governor Ron DeSantis’s request for an emergency declaration for the State of Florida as a result of Tropical Storm Ian. Crews on I-4 construction projects in Osceola County worked tirelessly ahead of the storm to ensure the road would be ready for the implementation of the ESU plan if enacted. With over 2.5 million Floridians placed under evacuation orders as the storm approached, ESU was activated on Tuesday, September 27, prior to the landfall of Hurricane Ian.

The original ESU plan for I-4 in Osceola County, for eastbound I-4 from west of the County Road (C.R.) 532 interchange to S.R. 417, was to shift traffic from the inside shoulder to the outside shoulder to accommodate the active construction projects in the area. Prior to the 2022 hurricane season, however, the plans were adjusted to provide a continuous ESU lane on the inside shoulder to bring the corridor in line with the rest of the ESU plan in Hillsborough and Osceola counties.

I-4 from west of the County Road

To accommodate the proposed change, extensive coordination took place weeks prior to the storm to adjust contractor crews' schedules. For example, they had to quickly complete base work within the gore area of the S.R. 429 interchange, relocate the barrier wall within the median, and remove and replace the striping between C.R. 532 and S.R. 417.

The crews’ tireless work saved the Department time and money, as the original plan to transition from the inside shoulder to the outside shoulder was quite extensive and would have required at least 10 more days plus additional monetary compensation to the contractor. The greatest benefit, however, was to the traveling public. By accelerating their schedule, crews made ESU on I-4 a seamless travel experience. When the ESU plan was implemented successfully, motorists were able to drive uninterrupted within the project limits and throughout the I-4 corridor.

The current I-4 capacity construction projects in Osceola County broke ground in November 2021. Project No. 444329-1 is adding new eastbound and westbound I-4 auxiliary lanes, one in each direction, between the ramps of S.R. 429 and C.R. 532, as well as an auxiliary lane on northbound S.R. 429 between I-4 and Sinclair Road. The project includes milling and resurfacing S.R. 429 between I-4 and Sinclair Road. Project No. 443958-1 consists of milling and resurfacing eastbound and westbound I-4 from the Polk/Osceola County line to west of S.R. 417. These projects are anticipated to be completed in early 2024.

To learn more about the Osceola County I-4 capacity projects, visit i4beyond.com or follow us on Twitter at @i4Ultimate. For more information on Florida's innovative ESU strategy visit FDOT.gov/ESU.


Video: Daryl Carter Parkway Construction Begins

Click on image above to view video.

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has begun construction at Interstate 4 (I-4) and Daryl Carter Parkway. The project is adding three new ramps connecting I-4 to Daryl Carter Parkway and converting the existing overpass to a diverging diamond interchange (DDI). This video details the work that will be part of the project as well as some helpful tips for driving through a DDI.


QUIZ: Drive Sober This Holiday Season

Take our quiz  to test your knowledge of driving sober during the holiday season.

It’s that wonderful time of the year again! Everyone is visiting family and friends, celebrating holidays, and enjoying some time off. With so many people on the roads — whether doing some last-minute shopping or going to and from gatherings — it’s critical to stay sober while driving for your safety, as well as that of your passengers and others on the roadway.

According to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 29 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver every day. That’s one death every 50 minutes, or about 10,000 lives lost a year. Drugs other than alcohol (both legal and illegal) are involved in about 16% of motor vehicle crashes.

There are many drugs that might affect your ability to safely operate a vehicle. If you’re taking prescription medication, check the label for warnings prior to driving. It’s also important to remember that mixing drugs and alcohol often amplifies their effects. For example, having one drink while taking cold or allergy medication could result in the same effect as having several drinks.

There are five major signs of impairment.

  • A slowed reaction time.
  • Decreased hand-eye coordination.
  • Difficulty perceiving time and distance.
  • Weakened concentration.
  • Limited short-term memory functions.

At the beginning of the evening’s festivities, come up with a safe plan for travel and stick to it. Utilize a rideshare or taxi, appoint a designated driver, or make plans to stay at the location you’ll be at.

Here are some common myths and facts to keep in mind:

Myth: Coffee or an energy drink is enough to sober up someone who’s impaired.

Fact: A person might be more awake, but they’ll still be impaired. Only time can sober a person up.

Myth: If someone has only had a few drinks and doesn’t look drunk, they should be fine.

Fact: Just because someone might not appear to be drunk does not mean they’re not impaired. Judgment is the first thing affected when someone has been drinking. Coordination and motor skills are a close second and third.

Myth: If a person is impaired, they can just ride their bike home.

Fact: In Florida, bicycles are subject to the same laws as all other motor vehicles. If a person rides impaired, they can still get a DUI.

Being informed and having a plan ensures everyone has a safe and happy holiday season.

For more information, visit fdot.gov/agencyresources/impaireddriving-holidays.