Florida DOT Overhauling I-4 West to Orlando with $2.5b

Florida is the third most populated state in the USA.

Source : Florida DOT

April 24, 2024

Author : Alex Bustillos

Florida plays a key part in the American economy thanks to its strategic location and diverse industries like agriculture, construction, defense, and commercial space travel. A great network of roads is like the pumping artery for the livelihood of the state and the nation.

Interstate-4, or I-4, is one of the major road networks in the Sunshine State. It spans almost 132.30 miles and connects highly economic and populous locations like Tampa, Lakeland, Orlando, and Daytona Beach.

Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) announced ambitious plans to completely upgrade and refurbish a 14-mile stretch of the I-4, to the west of Orlando.

Much of the scale of the $2.5 billion project was revealed last month during the transportation department's well-attended session with road builders and other transportation contractors to update them on the project's various phases.

Building on the $4 billion Moving Florida Forward Infrastructure Initiative of 2023, DeSantis approved additional improvements, including the Poinciana Connector, from west of US-27 to east of State Road 536.

The FDOT will use this massive funding to widen the lanes, create more emergency space along the highway's shoulder, increase the number of express lanes, and upgrade congestion-prone interchanges. 

Jared Perdue, the FDOT secretary, explained that this I-4 overhaul will bring tremendous relief to over 200,000 commuters who have been plagued by traffic congestion and longer travel times.

The project is all set to commence in the fall of this year and will take almost a decade to complete. Even this time frame is much faster than previous plans, which were slated to take almost 25 years to complete.

The announcement also mentioned a scheduled start date for the Poinciana Parkway, a long-awaited section of the expressway connecting I-4 to the huge, isolated, and unincorporated community of Poinciana, which straddles Osceola and Polk counties.

Construction on I-4 will include an intersection with the Poinciana Parkway, and construction scheduled for 2028 will extend the road further south to connect with a toll highway owned by the Central Florida Highway Authority.

While the necessity to complete the Poinciana Parkway between I-4 and Poinciana has received significant attention in recent years, the parkway is also viewed as a first step toward connecting 1-4 and Florida's Turnpike through Osceola County south of Kissimmee to St. Cloud.

The population explosion in Florida is happening at an unprecedented rate, with some areas already experiencing over 20 percent growth rate. This project will be a big boost to Polk County, which has seen a growing influx of people in recent times, thanks to its much lower housing cost, as compared to bigger cities like Tampa and Orlando. 

"With the Moving Florida Forward Initiative, we're taking billions of dollars...from the state's surplus," DeSantis said. "[It's] a multi-billion dollar infusion of money into our transportation program to identify some of the key areas that need to see these projects accelerated. "

These major congestion relief projects were advanced 10-15 years earlier owing to Governor DeSantis' bold vision and the cooperation of the Florida Legislature, which prioritized funding for these projects as part of the historic Moving Florida Forward Infrastructure Initiative.

These I-4 developments will connect to existing construction at the S.R. 535 junction, the new Daryl Carter Parkway junction, the Sand Lake Road Interchange, and the finished I-4 Ultimate Improvements through downtown Orlando. Once completed, this series of improvements, together with others currently underway, will not only relieve regional congestion but will also modernize obsolete infrastructure and give alternative travel options along this key interstate corridor.

Category : Department of Transportation Investment in Infrastructure State Government Freeways and Highways

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