Construction will continue years beyond I-4 Ultimate project

After current construction ends, another 40-mile project begins

Even when the I-4 Ultimate Project is completed, there will still be more construction to come.

Drivers sick of the construction on I-4 who might be thinking they’ll get some relief in 2021, when the I-4 Ultimate project is expected to be complete, should know there is more to come, much more.

The I-4 Ultimate project covers a 21-mile stretch from State Road 434 to the north to Kirkman Road to the south. It started in 2015, and drivers say not only have their nerves been impacted, their vehicles have too.

Rudell Mack says he no longer drives I-4 because of damage to his car.

"I got hit with rocks," Mack said. "From all the dump trucks. The rocks come off the trucks, and all of a sudden they hit your car."

Commuter Kristy Doing say it's a headache. "It feels like it's going to last forever and it's never gonna be done, because once they finish it, they're going to start more," she said.

She's right.

The Florida Department of Transportation will soon be looking beyond the 21 miles currently under construction to another 20 miles to the north and 20 miles to the south, according to FDOT spokesman Steve Olson.

It's called I-4 Beyond the Ultimate, and there is already a website, renderings and an animation to let the public know.

The southern end of I-4 Beyond the Ultimate runs west of Kirkman Road and State Road 535 in Orange County and through part of Osceola County, just west of the State Road 25/U.S. 27 interchange.

The idea is to get through the Disney area, which is a notorious bottleneck, according to Olson.

It will include major intersection overhauls, including Sandlake Road and Daryl Carter Parkway.

"We want to make it less congested and see if we can get the traffic flowing at this point and also, that increases safety," Olson said.

The northern end will stretch from State Road 434 in Seminole County to just east of State Road 472 in Volusia County. It gets through the Volusia County bridge, which is another major bottleneck to the north.

"What the Department of Transportation is looking at is probably dividing these things up into smaller, bite-size units," Olson said.

Olson said the project will also include more express toll lanes, which some drivers are still on the fence about.

"It might make it better, it might make it worse," Doing said.  "It might just be something we need to get used to."

While it's all in the name of progress, Aviva Mucha says it comes with a price.

"You don't see any more nature anywhere," she said. "When you're driving, it's just construction everywhere."

I-4 Beyond the Ultimate is estimated to cost about $4.5 billion.

Construction could extend another 10 to 15 years beyond the current project. When it’s all done, both projects will complete a 60-mile stretch.

About the Authors:

Emmy Award-winning reporter Louis Bolden joined the News 6 team in September of 2001 and hasn't gotten a moment's rest since. Louis has been a General Assignment Reporter for News 6 and Weekend Morning Anchor. He joined the Special Projects/Investigative Unit in 2014.

Emmy-nominated journalist Kristin Cason joined the News 6 team in June 2016.