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. One segment, at least, is expected to start construction in late 2019.
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 eastern endpoint of the managed lanes another 20 miles 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, and both projects will maintain the current six non-tolled lanes while adding dynamic tolled Express Lanes. 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 some of the segments moving closer to construction so that residents and motorists can reap these benefits.”
While state and federal funding has been designated for several sections, the area closest to a construction date is Segment 2, which is a 3.5-mile section that runs between Beachline Expressway (State Road 528) and Kirkman Road (S.R. 435). That work may start in late 2019.
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-ofway 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.