Looking toward downtown, the I-4/SR 408 Interchange offers a glimpse of the trans4mation to come.
The Evolution of Transportation in Central Florida.
Interstate 4 is often called the backbone of transportation in Central Florida. Drivers make 1.5 million trips daily on segments of I-4 in Osceola, Orange, Seminole and Volusia counties. I-4 not only provides a crucial link between Tampa on the gulf coast and Daytona Beach on the east coast, but also plays a vital role serving one of the world's most vibrant and popular travel destinations, Central Florida. The interstate opened in the 1960's and since that time, in response to rapid population and tourism growth, FDOT has continued to improve I-4.
This Trans4mation of I-4 is essential to Central Florida as traffic volumes continue to increase along with the number of people that are projected to live, work and recreate in the area. FDOT officials recognized that the existing I-4 could not support this growth, and began the Project Development and Environmental Study (PD&E) in 1997. This study was completed in 2002 and provided a blueprint called the "Ultimate Plan" for the "Future I-4," including concepts for roadway design, noise walls, and Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). The projects have already begun to shape the way I-4 feels and looks, but more importantly, how it flows. For example, one concept in the future plan, auxiliary lanes, has been added to the existing I-4. These new lanes add safety and efficiency for entering and exiting traffic.
The Trans4mation to date is impressive, but some of the biggest improvements to mobility and safety are yet to come. I-4 is now at least three lanes in each direction from Tampa to S.R. 44 in Volusia County. But a much more dramatic Trans4mation is planned for I-4 from Kirkman Road to S.R. 434. This is referred to as "The Ultimate I-4 Plan".
Ultimate I-4 Plan
The Ultimate I-4 Plan through Metropolitan Orlando consists of reconstructing nearly twenty miles of I-4 from Kirkman Road to east of SR 434. This stretch of I-4 is divided into six separate projects each of which is in planning phases. The enhancements include widening I-4 to four general use lanes in each direction and two special use lanes in each direction as well as improvements at each interchange in the project corridor.
Beyond SR 434 FDOT plans to improve the I-4 and SR 46 interchange to provide better traffic flow in Sanford. In Volusia County I-4 improvements include adding a third I-4 lane in both directions from S.R. 44 to U.S. 92, building three wildlife crossings and improving the I-4 and U.S. 92 interchange.