After years of planning, meetings and discussion, there finally are indications of actual work on the Florida Department of Transportation’s I-4 Beyond the Ultimate in the Dr. Phillips and Lake Buena Vista area.
The Central Florida project includes three main pieces in West Orange County: interchange improvements at I-4 and Sand Lake Road, 1-4 and Daryl Carter Parkway, and 1-4 at Apopka-Vineland Road.
District 1 Commissioner Nicole Wilson said she has been focused on relaying residents’ concerns to the FDOT project team, as well as providing updates as the project develops.
“Dr. Phillips residents have endured I-4 traffic and disfunction for years and are keeping a close eye on the planned improvements,” she said. “I am hopeful the improvements will provide not just relief to traffic congestion but also safer interchanges, more aesthetically pleasing roadside enhancements and better drainage from Sand Lake.”
SAND LAKE ROAD
Work on the Sand Lake Road and I-4 interchange began in the spring.
The interchange provides a gateway to some of Central Florida’s biggest attractions and is being reconstructed to a diverging diamond configuration.
According to the FDOT, the lanes in a diverging diamond cross over to the left side of the roadway, unlike a conventional interchange.
“That limits the number of traffic signal phases and allows drivers to make a left turn without crossing in front of oncoming traffic,” FDOT officials said. “The lanes then change back to the right side of the road. … These interchange configurations have been shown to improve safety, increase traffic efficiency and be cost-effective.”
The project is reconfiguring and lengthening ramps at the interchange and improving capacity on Sand Lake and Turkey Lake roads. A new loop ramp will replace the existing left turns from westbound Sand Lake to southbound Turkey Lake.
In addition, the project includes reconstruction of the I-4 general-use lanes from west of Sand Lake to the end of the I-4 Ultimate project.
Two westbound, barrier-separated, express lanes are being built from west of Sand Lake to connect to the existing express lanes near Kirkman Road.
“These will transition to a single, buffer-separated express lane in the westbound direction from west of Sand Lake Road and tie in just west of Central Florida Parkway,” FDOT officials said. “This express lane will be constructed in three separate projects, with the finished lane extending from west of Sand Lake Road to west of State Road 536.”
Construction is estimated to reach completion in 2027.
DARYL CARTER PARKWAY
The reconstruction of the Daryl Carter Parkway overpass into a diverging diamond also has begun, with construction starting last November.
The I-4 and Daryl Carter Parkway interchange is an interim project of I-4 Beyond the Ultimate.
The project is transforming the Daryl Carter overpass into an interchange, providing additional access to local attractions and helping to relieve congestion at the I-4 and Apopka-Vineland Road interchange.
FDOT officials said this project will add three new ramps connecting I-4 to Daryl Carter: exit ramps from both directions of I-4 to Daryl Carter and an entrance ramp to eastbound I-4.
A westbound I-4 entrance ramp will be built as part of a future project. It also will convert the existing Daryl Carter overpass to a diverging diamond.
The project also has I-4 improvements from west of Daryl Carter to west of Central Florida Parkway.
Construction already is underway of a single, buffer-separated, managed lane from west of Daryl Carter to west of Central Florida Parkway.
The project is expected to be completed by early 2026.
Construction for the interchange of I-4 and Apopka-Vineland Road will start next year.
The first part of the project will reconstruct partially the I-4 and Apopka-Vineland interchange to enhance safety and improve access to and from westbound I-4.
This project includes: constructing a new loop ramp from northbound Apopka-Vineland to westbound I-4; realigning the westbound I-4 entrance ramp from southbound Apopka-Vineland; improving traffic flow and giving motorists more time to merge onto I-4; lengthening the westbound I-4 exit ramp to Apopka-Vineland to reduce back-ups; and milling and resurfacing Apopka-Vineland and extending storage for left and right turn lanes.
The second part of the project will add a single, buffer-separated, westbound express lane to I-4 from west of S.R. 536 to west of Daryl Carter.
The complete express lane will be built in three separate projects extending from west of S.R. 536 to west of Sand Lake.
Design for this project is ongoing.