I-4 bridge over Colonial Drive finally opens

Cracked support beam repaired

ORLANDO, Fla. – An Interstate 4 overpass over Colonial Drive  opened Monday, after nearly a year of delays.

The bridge will allow for traffic to merge onto eastbound I-4 from Garland Avenue at Amelia Street.

In 2018, officials said they found cracks in one of the bridge's supporting beams, which caused the opening to be delayed from its projected date of February or March 2018 so inspectors could determine what caused the cracks and how to fix them.

FDOT officials said additional testing on the bridge was completed, paving the way for the structure to be opened to traffic.

"There were small cracks in the pier. Test data shows the pier (column) is safe to support traffic, but the cracks could pose maintenance and serviceability issues over time. FDOT’s position is the pier should have a serviceability lifetime of nearly 75 years. There will be two aspects addressed when remediation occurs; one for long-term performance of the pier and the second will address the cracking. Discussions are underway with the contractor as to how to go about remediation," an FDOT spokesman said.

Officials have not said what caused the cracks.

Now that the bridge is open, crews will be able to continue other work in downtown Orlando, including building new eastbound lanes for the I-4 Ultimate mainline and demolishing the old on-ramp at Amelia Street.

Drivers on Monday said it will take some time for them to get used to the new flow of traffic.

"Now with it on the right, you literally have to cut over two lanes if you're not completely familiar with the area," motorist Patrick Hammond said. "You have to cut over two lanes or even a single lane and especially at night time, it causes a lot of havoc."

Drivers are urged to remain cautious and vigilant in construction zones or when traffic changes and to visit www.I4Ultimate.com for the latest on the project.