I-4 toll construction project growing

Construction could last 10 years


ORLANDO, Fla. – A major overhaul on Interstate 4 means drivers will be seeing construction for years.

"More bedlam and chaos. I-4 is already a nightmare," said Kathy Paolucci, who is not looking forward to driving through the construction. "I travel from Lake Mary over to this side of town for my daughter's volleyball club and that's three days a week."

The "I-4 Ultimate Project" will add four express toll lanes to 21 miles of interstate, stretching from west of Kirkman Road, through downtown Orlando to State Road 434. The project will take six years to complete.

On Thursday, before shovels hit the ground on the $2 billion project, Florida Department of Transportation officials discussed a second phase -- "Beyond 1-4 Ultimate." That phase will add an additional 40 miles of express toll lanes to 1-4 beyond State Road 434 to Volusia County, and from Kirkman Road to Polk County.

The entire project, phases 1 and 2, could take 10 years to complete.

"Our goal is to keep as many lanes open as possible when we're under construction. There might be some shifting to the left, shifting to the right, as construction proceeds," said DOT spokesperson Steve Olson.

Josh Wallack owns businesses along International Drive, the backyard of Phase 2. He's calling for parking garages and pedestrian bridges to accommodate all the people the extra lanes will bring in.

"When people come off I-4, they can find parking, and they can get to where they want to go without being in traffic for an hour, two hours," he said.

Construction on "I-4 Ultimate" begins in the fall of 2014.