I-4 construction project costs time, money for semi-truck drivers

Truckers could lose money by taking toll roads to stay on schedule

ORLANDO, Fla. - At some point in the next 6 1/2 years, nearly everyone in Orlando will get stuck in the new Ultimate I-4 Construction Project traffic.

For most of us, it will simply cost us time and frustration. However, for semi-truck drivers, it will be costing them something even more precious.

"More than time, it will cost me money," said Mike Rasmussen, a veteran truck driver who's spent 49 years on the road. "If you get off I-4 and look for alternate route, you have to pay a toll."

Rasmussen is based out of Michigan, but drives up and down I-4 on a weekly basis. He said truckers could be out a lot of money if they choose to take toll roads to stay on schedule.

"My company gives me routes," said Mike Bouldin, a truck driver who shares a similar frustration. "If I take a different route, I gotta pay the toll."

The drivers said they may be forced into paying the cash out-of-pocket to stay on schedule.

Based on a simulated pay total of Central Florida's highways, a truck driver with a five-axle rig can expect to pay about $15.50 one way to circumnavigate I-4 driving westbound.

Steve Olson, spokesman for Florida's Department of Transportation, hopes that won't be necessary.

"It will be open to trucks at night," Olson said. "It may not be open in every lane, but it will still be an option."

Despite the hassle, and the lighter wallet, truckers say they understand it's a project that needs to get done.

"If you need to fix it, fix it," Bouldin said. "What else can I do? I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place."

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