The resources required to get to this point include: 52.3 mi. of pile driven into the ground; 44,600 cu. yds. of concrete poured; 10.5 million lbs. of rebar used as support; and 36.6 million lbs. of structural steel.
Crane operators have set the last tub girder segment at the Interstate 4 and State Road 408 interchange in downtown Orlando, marking a critical moment of progress for the busiest junction in the 21-mi. project. Tub girders are large U-shaped beams used for support under elevated roadways. While work continues on the complex interchange, all flyover ramps are now in place, providing efficient and safe connectivity, without the weaving in-and-out of merging traffic to reach an exit or merge ramp.
Within the intricately planned interchange, crews set in place a total of 5.73 mi. of tub girders, some hoisted as high as 120 ft. above the ground. This required 52.3 miles of driven pile, 44,600 cu. yds. of concrete and 10.5 million lbs. of rebar. The joint venture team of SGL (Skanska/Granite/Lane) continues to open newly placed roadways and bridges throughout the project, including the all-new Grand National Drive overpass, and is targeting this summer to open elevated bridges through downtown Orlando.
Concrete decks are in the process of being placed on the tubs, which will be followed by barrier walls; grooving and grinding; painting, striping, and finally signage. Some of these processes will be done simultaneously and likely overlap.
"Central Florida residents are seeing the results of all the hard work behind the scenes and on the ground," said John Tyler, the Florida Department of Transportation's district engineer for the east-Central Florida region. "The design, engineering, and construction coordination that have turned concepts into reality."
Many drivers eagerly await the opening. The construction team's goal is to have the ramps in service by the middle of next year. To meet that goal, work continues both day and night, including pouring more concrete, installing barrier walls and smoothing and grooving the concrete surface so it drains properly and offers good traction.
I-4 Ultimate is an important project for Central Florida. The 21-mi. makeover, from west of Kirkman Road in Orange County to east of State Road 434 in Seminole County, is transforming the region to better connect communities, boost local economy and improve residents' quality of life. CEG