SANFORD, Fla. – The I-4 Ultimate project is about to reach a new milestone when the new Interstate 4 express toll lanes open early next year.
FDOT officials took News 6 on a driving tour of the new express lanes. Jim Stroz, an FDOT traffic operations engineer, said the express lanes will provide a new option for drivers.
“We’re really excited because this is an option that doesn’t exist today for customers and for drivers,” Stroz said.
I-4 Express runs both directions in the middle of the interstate. It covers the 21 mile stretch of the I-4 Ultimate Project from Kirkman Road to State Road 434.
FDOT officials said the express lanes are expected to relieve around 20% of congestion on the interstate.
“It will be there when they need it and more importantly it’s going to be a pretty powerful tool for the department to help manage congestion,” Stroz said.
There are 14 on and off-ramps to the express lanes along the interstate. There are also 16 direct connections to the toll lanes as well as 10 emergency access points for first responders.
Toll prices will vary depending on how many cars are using the express lanes. During the introductory phase, the tolls will start at $0.50 per section, which totals up to $3.50 one way.
Jeremy Dilmore with FDOT said the dynamic tolling prices will help with congestion.
“That’s to go ahead and make sure that we can have a reliable trip in those so you can get to point A to point B by ensuring those lanes aren’t congested because they are priced accordingly,” Gilmore said.
Troopers will be out monitoring the new toll lanes. Lt. Kim Montes with FHP said the agency’s biggest concern is speeding.
“There’s going to be times where there’s congestion on the mainline and not congestion within the express lanes. If that happens the speed limit is the maximum that you’re allowed to do,” Montes said.
Transportation leaders add this will be a learning curve. They’re encouraging drivers to play their trips ahead of time using the map on the I-4 Express website. Drivers are also urged to pay attention to the signs so they know how much it will cost and where they can enter and exit the toll lanes.
I-4 Express is set to open in early 2022. FDOT said there are plans to expand the toll road beyond the I-4 Ultimate Project.