Seeing jibberish on I-4 overhead signs? Signs are in ‘testing mode’

Future I-4 toll lanes will only allow transponders, no toll-by-plate, toll booths

ORLANDO, Fla. – As confusing as a half-covered sign with flashing numbers and letters may seem, especially at highway speeds, the Florida Department of Transportation said it’s intentional.

FDOT is testing out the electronic billboards over what will soon be the tolls lanes on Interstate 4, like the ones on highways in South Florida.

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Right now workers are painting them, transporting them and cleaning them. Expect to even see test cars in the unopened lanes verifying the transponder readers.

The toll lanes that run down the center of the highway from Kirkman Road to State Road 434 have been under construction since the I-4 Ultimate Project began in 2015.

And watch out — some of the soon-to-be toll lanes aren’t even blocked off in some spots of the highway and drivers could accidentally enter them if they don’t realize they’re still closed.

FDOT calls them “managed lanes” because they manage the traffic on I-4.

The price will fluctuate throughout the day, depending on the traffic. Fewer cars in the managed lanes will cause the price to drop to encourage drivers in the general lanes to move over into the managed lanes.

FDOT has not announced how much the lanes will cost but you will need a transponder to use them or face a $25 ticket per violation, plus the price of the toll.

There will be no toll booths and no toll-by-plate option like on other Central Florida toll roads.

FDOT’s Turnpike Authority offers a Sunpass mini transponder sticker for $4.95 plus tax.

The Expressway Authority offers its Epass sticker for free.

Something else to watch for: FDOT said the entrances and exits for the toll lanes won’t necessarily line up with the entrances and exits for I-4.

FDOT is creating a trip planner to familiarize yourself with the toll lanes’ exits so you can figure out where to get out of the toll lanes in time to make your exit off I-4.

About the Author:

Erik von Ancken anchors and reports for WKMG-TV News 6 (CBS) in Orlando and is a two-time Emmy award-winning journalist in the prestigious and coveted "On-Camera Talent" categories for both anchoring and reporting. Erik joined the News 6 News Team in 2003 days after the tragic loss of space shuttle Columbia.