By now, most of Central Florida probably has heard of the I-4 Ultimate project. But another project called I-4 Beyond the Ultimate may seem completely new to many residents and motorists. However, this 40-mile project, which will become better known during the next few months, actually has been in development for several years and is currently in the beginning phases of construction.
For the average driver, who is not yet familiar with I-4 Beyond the Ultimate, it might be easiest to think of I-4 Beyond as an extension of the massive I-4 Ultimate Project. I-4 Beyond extends the improvements and innovation 20 miles past the eastern endpoint of I-4 Ultimate and also adds 20 miles to its western endpoint.
With a goal of improving safety, mobility and connectivity in Central Florida, the I-4 Beyond the Ultimate project is a complex undertaking that is expected to rebuild and improve 40 miles of I-4. When complete, it will cover twice the length of the current I-4 Ultimate project.
Both I-4 Beyond the Ultimate and I-4 Ultimate will improve pavement, ramps and interchanges. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) oversees both projects.
“I-4 Beyond the Ultimate will bring improved safety and mobility to Central Florida and will help increase connectivity between communities,” said FDOT Senior Project Manager Beata Stys-Palasz, P.E. “We are very excited to see construction beginning so that residents and motorists can reap these benefits.”
Interim projects in Seminole County are already underway, with the milling and resurfacing of eastbound I-4 from Lake Mary Boulevard to U.S. 17-92 at the Seminole-Volusia county line having been completed in May 2020. The addition of an eastbound I-4 auxiliary lane from the end of I-4 Ultimate to Lake Mary Boulevard and the reconstruction of the E.E. Williamson Road overpass began in September 2019 with anticipated completion in spring 2021. The milling and resurfacing of westbound I-4 from U.S. 17-92 to Lake Mary Boulevard began construction in summer 2020.
An interim project in Osceola County to reconfigure the I-4 and County Road 532 interchange into a diverging diamond interchange is scheduled to begin construction as soon as April 2021.
The I-4 Beyond the Ultimate project is divided into six design segments. Each must undergo a stringent, multi-step process that includes planning, environmental study, preliminary design, right-of-way considerations, design and construction. While the sections stand at different points in the overall process, the Development and Environment (PD&E) Reevaluation Study has been finalized for the entire project.