FDOT shuts down new I-4 ramp at Ivanhoe Boulevard hours after opening

'Safety reasons' blamed for closure

ORLANDO, Fla. – Though it's not the most popular ramp, 3,000 drivers still take the Ivanhoe Boulevard exit at Interstate 4 westbound every day.

"That's not a high number compared to other ramps but that's 3,000 folks who rely on it," said Steve Olson, spokesperson for the Florida Department of Transportation. 

Those drivers also rely on the exit to be safe, which is why hours after FDOT opened up the new exit ramp, it was shut down. 

"We have a team that does oversight of the construction and then that team was watching this and they just didn't feel comfortable with what they were seeing," Olson said. 

What that oversight team saw was drivers were caught by surprise by the location of the new exit, which Olson said is about a half-mile sooner than it was before. 

Also, FDOT crews were concerned with how drivers were maneuvering not only as they approached the exit ramp, but when they were on it as well. 

"It was a narrower way win," Olson added. 

Now, he says I-4 Ultimate contractors will be working, sometimes overnight to get the exit fixed and re-opened by next week. Some of that work will include doing a wider profile on the exit ramp, giving a little more space to drivers as they appoarch the exit ramp. Crews will also look at additional striping or more warning signs or some kind of notification to drivers that the new exit has been moved. 

"The prudent thing is you go in there and rather than letting that problem get bigger, you go in there and maybe make adjustments. In this case close it down, make the fixes," Olson said. "Make it that's something more user friendly and that also increases safety." 

The detour for this temporary closure: Continue west on I-4 to the Colonial Drive exit. Turn left onto eastbound Colonial Drive. Turn left onto northbound Magnolia Avenue and continue on to Ivanhoe Boulevard.

Olson said right now crews are at the heart of the I-4 Ultimate project and there are changes practically every day. 

In fact Friday night into Saturday, I-4 Ultimate officials say the westbound ramps at both Princeton Street and Par Street will be closed as well.  Crews said the westbound I-4 ramps at Princeton Street and the westbound I-4 entrance ramp from Par Street also will move to interim configurations and create a temporary ramp system.

"We are working hard, we are keeping the interstate open as we practically build a new one on top of it, so it's going to get a lot better -- just bear with us," Olson said. 

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