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Interstate 4 to get major overhaul

I-4 Ultimate Project begins; Project to last 6 years

ORLANDO, Fla. – Beginning Sunday the groundwork will be laid for the six-year, multi-billion dollar I-4 overhaul.

The Florida Department of Transportation tells Local 6 workers will begin clearing along the roadway to make room for the eventual widening. They will also be moving utilities in the next few weeks and months, according to officials.

By summer, the main portion of the construction work could be visible, bringing with it added congestion and delays for commuters.

I-4 Ultimate will upgrade and redesign a 21-mile stretch of the interstate from just west of Kirkman Road to east of State Road 434. The main focus of the project will be adding two tolled express lanes on either side, but also include redesigning 15 interchanges, rebuilding dozens of bridges and making aesthetic improvements.

One of the first visible signs of construction will be increased Road Ranger patrols, aimed at getting disabled drivers out of the way quicker, in areas that will be further congested by construction.

"Construction is going to cause congestion in and of itself and you don't want broken down vehicles or accidents in the way or adding to that," said Steve Olson, spokesman for FDOT.

FDOT unveiled new Road Ranger trucks Saturday to coincide with the project's kickoff.

Officials recommend drivers look for alternate routes when construction and lane closures or shifts are at their peak, probably a year to two years into the makeover. John Young Parkway, 17-92, the 417 and SunRail are options for drivers to avoid congestion associated with lane closures.

FDOT does say it will keep all lanes open during the morning and evening rush hours, while trying to contain impacts to traffic to overnight hours.

The project is expected to be complete in 2021.