I-4 Ultimate confusion: Crews run out of time to fix signs before major change

Incorrect sign confuses drivers taking SR 408 exit ramp off I-4

ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida Department of Transportation officials said I-4 Ultimate crews ran out of time overnight trying to open up a new configuration on I-4 east at the State Road 408 and South Street exit ramp, and left one incorrect sign in place Friday. 

The exit ramp was closed overnight Thursday for the new configuration and was supposed to open at 5 a.m. Friday; however, FDOT officials said it didn't open up until two hours later. 

A spokesperson with FDOT told News 6 crews knew they needed to flip the sign but just ran out of time to fix the conflicting signs.

According to I-4 Ultimate officials, the new configuration will be temporary. The exit's location itself will stay the same but instead of traveling over an I-4  bridge to reach State Road 408, drivers will travel parallel to Division Avenue and then travel along Gore Street to get there.

This configuration is Phase 2 of a two-step process, according to I-4 Ultimate crews. Phase 1 took place in April, with crews shutting down the South Street exit off I-4 altogether, and merging it with the S.R. 408 exit.

That is where the most important change comes in for drivers, according to I-4 officials, because the exits for South Street and S.R. 408 will flip. 

"The most important change for motorists as a result of this new temporary ramp configuration is once motorists have exited I-4, they need to be in the left lane of the ramp for South Street and the right lane of the ramp for S.R. 408," according to the I-4 Ultimate's website.

However, that change confused drivers Friday because of the conflicting signs. 

"I wasn't entirely sure which side was which for South Street which side was the expressway," said driver Josh Ciganek. 

FDOT officials say crews were planning on shutting down South Street, overnight Friday for work, so they will use that time to fix the signs they say are giving drivers mixed messaging.

There will be a single lane closure starting at 11:30 p.m. Friday and then at 1 a.m. Saturday a double lane closure until the signs are fixed hopefully by 6:30 a.m. Saturday, according to FDOT.

To keep up with the changes, closures and detours long the I-4 Ultimate project, click here.

About the Author: