ORLANDO, Fla. — A new Interstate 4 on-ramp in downtown Orlando is now ready to open, months after cracks were found in the ramp's bridge.
- I-4 on-ramp at Garland Avenue ready to open after delay
- Cracks were found in bridge over Colonial Drive in April
- FDOT decided to conduct tests, make temporary repairs
- RELATED: Colonial Drive closed at I-4 in Orlando due to bridge work
In April, crews found cracks in the bridge over busy Colonial Drive, leading to the temporary closure of Colonial and more safety testing.
Now, the new ramp for I-4 eastbound on Garland Avenue is scheduled to open January 7, transportation officials said.
The big change is that you will need to be in the right lane on Garland Avenue to access it.
Southeast Steel Appliance Warehouse is between Garland and Orange avenues in downtown Orlando. Its president, Stu Kimball lives in Maitland and has to take eastbound I-4 regularly.
"In the evening, it's stop and go," Kimball said. "It's a little slow, and right now it is worse than ever."
But early next month, he hopes his commute home will be a lot less painful.
"It sounds wonderful," Kimball said with a smile. "Anything that can be done to make it quicker and easier would be wonderful."
The new I-4 on-ramp will give drivers more time to accelerate, but it also came with a safety scare.
The cracks found in April had crews concerned about its durability. The deadly pedestrian bridge collapse at Florida International University happened just a month before, which also stoked fears.
So the Florida Department of Transportation took no chances, closing Colonial Drive after the discovery to make sure the bridge wouldn't collapse and to conduct tests. After temporary repairs, the road reopened.
For Kimball, he hopes the on-ramp helps his business speed up appliance deliveries.
Transportation officials urge drivers and motorists to obey posted speed limits in the construction zones and to stay alert while driving through it.
FDOT also says that changes to the opening of the ramp could still happen if there's poor weather or other unforeseen conditions.