ORLANDO, Fla. — When will the newly configured Interstate 4 and State Road 408 interchange, including the new bridges overhead, open?
- Transportation official: "Traffic could be on here next summer"
- 1 of 2 new bridges to be over 120 feet, taller than Amway Center
- Bridges designed to withstand 150 mph winds, FDOT says
Some consider the bridges to be the crown jewel of the I-4 Ultimate Project.
"Folks will still continue to see road closures and shifting of traffic here," said Jessica Ottaviano a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Transportation.
"We have over 45,000 cubic yards of concrete poured at this interchange, 10 million pounds of rebar used and over 52,000 miles of piles driven, just at this interchange," Ottaviano said.
Spectrum News 13 went on a bridge that was over 80 feet high — but not nearly as high as a bridge behind it.
The other bridge is over 120 feet high, which is even taller than the Amway Center, making that one of the tallest bridges in Central Florida.
With the bridges at the interchange being so high, some rumors have circulated that they will be closed frequently because of high winds and storms, but that's not the case at all.
The bridges are designed to sustain 150 mph winds, which is standard wind loading criteria.
Historically, the Florida Highway Patrol has closed bridges in Florida when the sustained winds exceed 40 mph.
"It would mostly be for a severe tropical storm or major hurricane," Ottaviano said. "It wouldn't be for everyday severe weather that we see here in Central Florida."
Also, I-4 will be a lot wider than it used to be. Pictures show bridge planks on either side that will essentially be the new through lanes of I-4. The lanes currently being driven on will be the new express lanes.
Although a lot of work still needs to be done before those bridges are open to the public, they may be closer to completion than drivers think.
"We plan on having the construction complete around next year... so traffic could be on here next summer," Ottaviano said.
Here is a rundown of some of the statistics of the S.R. 408 bridges of the I-4 Ultimate Project:
- Piles – 52 miles driven to date
- Substructure – Footer, Columns and Caps, MSE Wall
- 33,600 cubic yards of concrete poured, 320 individual pouring operations and 7.35 million pounds of rebar installed.
- Superstructure – Girders, pans, rebar, deck and traffic railings
- 11,000 cubic yards of concrete poured, 50 bridge deck pours to date
- 3 million pounds of rebar installed
- Structural Steel – 36.6 million pounds of steel
- 5.7 miles of tub girders
- 2.3 miles of plates set
Crews still need to complete forming and pouring the concrete bridge decks; install traffic barriers; groove and grind the deck to provide tractions and channel water off bridges; and finish painting for the lane striping and installation of final signage.