Central Florida will be getting a vastly-improved Interstate 4.  I-4 has been the backbone of the Central Florida highway system and will soon be completely  transformed for 21 miles, from Kirkman Rd in Orange County to State Rd 434 in Seminole County.  The plans call for four new Express Lanes down the middle of I-4, reconstructed interchanges and Tolls Booths and brand new bridges (read more).  This massive project is one of the the largest public-private partnerships undertaken in Florida to date.  Private investors will fund nearly $1Billion of the bill, but would be reimbursed with toll money (read more).

Bridge District

Still on it’s conceptual phase, the Bridge District would liven up the I-4 corridor underpasses.  With the Ultimate I-4 Expansion widening and raising the heights of underpasses, it’s a great opportunity to recreate these areas that have been under utilized as dark, dank, parking garages.  There have been several ideas which include adding shoppes and cafes, or maybe additional recreation space.  Orlando has already tried to liven up the underpass on Church St with some lighting displays, so this would just be expanding the thought process.

Rendering of Downtown Orlando's Bridge District

Rendering of Downtown Orlando’s Bridge District

This is not a new idea – many cities have done the same with varying degrees of success.  Toronto turned one of their underpasses into an recreational park with a skating arena, basketball courts and mirrors and lighting to illuminate the area.  In the Netherlands they built cafes, a supermarket, flower and pet shops and recreational parks as well.  These are just a few examples (read more).  The Bridge District should bring new life to the Downtown area.

Area 1 – Attractions

If you are traveling east on I-4, you will enter the project just west of Kirkman Road in Orange County, with direct access to the Express Lanes. The direct access will be marked with decorative pylons — a signature aesthetic treatment you will encounter throughout the corridor. I-4 Beyond the Ultimate is planned to continue the improvements of I-4 from Kirkman Road to U.S. 27 in Polk County, extending another 21.2 miles (read more).

Area 2 – Downtown

The downtown Orlando stretch of I-4 houses eight interchanges, including State Road 408. Within this strech of I-4, you’ll notice a more aesthetically pleasing design and a more open-air feel. Drivers and pedestrians alike will experience a true transformation as the bridges and the spaces underneath are beautified with green space and lighting accents (Bridge District). In addition, direct connections to the Express Lanes will be provided at South Street and Anderson Street (read more).

Area 3 – Ivanhoe

Headed to the Amway Center from the east, you will enter the Ivanhoe area — a main access point to and from downtown Orlando.  You will notice a high level of aesthetics was incorporated here, including entry landscape, vertical monuments, lighting features and illuminated pylons that demark the gateway.  There will also be additional auxiliary lanes eastbound, from Colonial Drive to Princeton Street, westbound from Maitland Boulevard to Lee Road and eastbound from Princeton Street to Fairbanks Avenue. These lanes will increase the amount of traffic the area can accommodate and improves the level of service. No more traffic jams as you leave that downtown concert! (read more)

Area 4 – Altamonte

Going west from Daytona Beach, drivers will enter the I-4 Ultimate project just east of the State Road 434 interchange in Seminole County. If your trip takes you all the way through the city, you will experience a reliable travel time that reaches the attractions in a timely manner. Four Express Lanes are planned to continue from the State Road 434 interchange all the way up to State Road 472 in Volusia County. (read more)

Photo Renderings