As a popular catchphrases states, "all roads lead to Rome," but only one links all of the Central Florida theme parks and attractions: the Interstate 4 (also known as I-4). Thanks to this highway, Orlando visitors can drive from Universal Orlando to SeaWorld in under 10 minutes, or reach Walt Disney World driving just 5 more minutes. I-4 also connects Orlando to LEGOLAND and Busch Gardens Tampa. Therefore, you may be interested in what the future holds for it...
In fact, a major Interstate 4 expansion project will stgart very soon. Here you are some important information (including some nice renderings showing the future of this Central Florida highway), which were included in a recent newsletter (you can find even more news on the official website):
"The I-4 Ultimate project is one step closer to transforming Central Florida. [...] FDOT Secretary Ananth Prasad said, "This is a monumental milestone for one of the most congested corridors of the state, which draws millions of tourists and is an important mid-point in Florida for commerce and commuters. The project gives us the opportunity to show how a successful public-private partnership works, through construction and beyond, benefitting those who count on great infrastructure, which feeds a robust economy."
Through the P3 delivery model, I-4 Mobility Partners was able to provide significant technical enhancements, including direct connections from the Express Lanes to State Road 408, additional auxiliary lanes and an additional pedestrian bridge over I-4 at Maitland Boulevard. These enhancements offer added value as compared to FDOT's base scope requirements while still staying below FDOT's affordability limit. An additional benefit of the P3 approach is the ability to combine and accelerate the construction of large complex projects, like I-4 Ultimate, to advance the project's benefits to the public much sooner than traditional methods. In fact, I-4 Ultimate will be built 17 years sooner than possible with traditional funding methods!
FDOT and I-4 Mobility Partners have worked expeditiously to reach financial close with lenders, which include a consortium of six commercial banks and the Federal Highway Administration through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) credit assistance program. This approach has allowed FDOT to benefit from the low interest rate environment - resulting in a $68.7 million (net present value in 2014 dollars) decrease when compared to I-4 Mobility Partners' financial proposal. I-4 Mobility Partners has invested $104 million in the project, and commercial banks and TIFIA are lending $486 million and $949 million, respectively, to the project.
Cesar Souza, chief executive officer of I-4 Mobility Partners, said, "I-4 Mobility Partners is extremely proud to invest in and deliver this signature corridor project, which is designed to reflect the needs of the communities it serves. The public will experience safety improvements and modernization of the corridor and its many interchanges. Furthermore, the project will make a significant impact to the local economy through the substantial involvement of local, small and disadvantaged business enterprises."
More great things are in the works for I-4 Ultimate, with the design phase beginning in fall 2014 and construction anticipated to start in early 2015. Visit the project's website, I4Ultimate.com, to stay up to date on all the latest project news - from closure updates and details about construction activities to how to contact the project team and employment opportunities.
RENDERINGS: © 2014 Florida Department of Transportation. All rights reserved.