Gov. Ron DeSantis said the ability to increase lane closures and extend work hours due to the reduction in traffic will allow some segments of the I-4 Ultimate Project to be accelerated by one to two months. Photo courtesy of Gov. Ron DeSantis' Twitter account.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Saturday the I-4 Ultimate Project in Orlando — a 21-mile section of interstate running through Orange and Seminole County — will have some segments completed months ahead of schedule.

DeSantis said in a Saturday press conference that the ability to increase lane closures and extend work hours due to the reduction in traffic will allow some segments of the project to be accelerated by one to two months.

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On April 3, DeSantis issued a statewide stay-at-home order limiting Florida residents to only leave their homes for essential activities.

“I’m going to be doing an executive order today directing all Floridians to limit movements and personal interactions outside the home to only those necessary to obtain or provide essential services or conduct essential activities … ,” DeSantis said during an April 1 press conference.

The Florida Department of Transportation began construction on the highway in 2015, according to FDOT.

The $2.3 billion I-4 Ultimate Project involves reconstructing 21 miles of I-4 from west of Kirkman Road to east of SR 434 in Longwood, Florida, according to FDOT.

The segments of the $2.3 billion I-4 Ultimate Project that will be accelerated include:

  • Segments of westbound I-4 through downtown Orlando.
  • Portions of the SR 408 interchange.

DeSantis said no additional costs will be incurred or paid by taxpayers to accelerate these work activities, but said the construction acceleration will provide job opportunities for Central Florida residents.

For essential workers and individuals traveling for essential services, FDOT has posted maps of the planned detours and lane closures on its website.

FDOT plans to complete segments of the westbound general use lanes and its connection to the SR 408 interchange by summer, according to a Saturday news release.

The specific segments of the $2.3 billion I-4 Ultimate project that will be accelerated include segments of westbound I-4 through downtown Orlando and portions of the SR 408 interchange. Photo courtesy of the Florida Department of Transportation's website.
Photo courtesy of the Florida Department of Transportation’s website.

“There’s not cars on the roads like there normally is,” DeSantis said during an April 1 press conference. “I think there is an opportunity to take advantage of that. We have roads that if you were to do a lot of construction on would cause massive traffic in normal situations and that may not be the case now.”

The I-4 Ultimate Project acceleration is not the first transportation project to see changes. On April 1, DeSantis announced the following projects would also experience timeline accelerations:

  • Orlando — Sand Lake, International Drive/Universal Boulevard
    • Accelerated by four to six weeks
  • Tampa Bay area — Howard Franklin Bridge Project
    • Accelerated by almost four weeks
    • $864 million project
  • Western Palm Beach County — widening of Southern Boulevard
    • Accelerated by almost three months
  • Miami-Dade — I-395, I-95 Design-Build Project
    • Accelerated by almost four weeks
    • $802 million project

“The Department completely understands that I-4 is a major artery within our state’s transportation system and delivering these significant portions of the I-4 Ultimate Project is a huge win for Florida’s residents and economy,” FDOT Secretary Kevin Thibault said in a news release.

DeSantis said this plan will allow for significant headway to take place on the I-4 Ultimate Project. FDOT said it will continue to look for opportunities to accelerate projects across the state during this low traffic period.