Road construction is nothing new for central Florida residents, but engineering firm Volkert has recently been acquired to provide quality assurance in what may be one of the most important reconstruction projects the area has seen. They’re calling it “I-4 Ultimate.”
If you’re a Florida resident, the name alone might be enough to make you either worried or very curious. I-4 is notorious, and the name, “I-4 Ultimate,” is optimistic. But Volkert has a reputation for excellence.
What Makes This Project Special
If you’ve ever driven I-4 at any point between Tampa and Daytona Beach during rush hour, you probably have an opinion forged into your mind about the condition of that stretch of road. For that matter, if you’ve driven it on any day of the week at any time of the day or night, your opinion is probably the same.
No one looks forward to driving I-4. Traffic is always heavy, no matter when. Lanes are narrow, and the speed limit is viewed by tourists and locals alike as a vague suggestion. In short, any trip on that road is harrowing. But that may be about to change.
Transforming I-4 into a road that Orange and Seminole counties can be proud of is a major undertaking. No matter how you slice it, it’s a massive renovation spanning 21 miles.
Why Volkert was Chosen for This Project
Employee-owned Volkert, an engineering firm based in Mobile, AL, is accustomed to major undertakings. Its 800 planners, environmental specialists, program managers, and, of course, engineers, helped design the $1.4 billion Martin Luther King Expressway Extension in Virginia.
The Virginia project included an elevated roadway that was designed to reduce the volume of truck and commuter traffic through neighborhoods. Volkert implemented time- and cost-saving construction methods, designed 1 mile of 4-lane, limited access road with an all-electronic toll system, and minimized the impact on historic areas, all within one year, according to the project description at their website.
On the I-4 Ultimate project, Volkert will ensure quality in design and construction, providing inspection services.
What Orlando and Tampa Hope to Gain
It’s virtually impossible to travel to central Florida without driving on I-4. But the road was built in the 60s, and the area has exploded with tourists and residents since then. It’s no wonder that travel from point A to point B is always a challenge.
What the I-4 Ultimate hopes to bring to central Florida is a much wider, easier to navigate, smoother drive. The plans include not just adding a few new lanes, but a fundamental reconstruction of 21 miles of Interstate including numerous new bridges, wider exchanges with more lanes, and a better overall traffic pattern.
The project plan is set at 6 1/2 years for completion, much longer than Volkert’s project in Virginia. During that time, city officials are urging residents to plan now for the upcoming extensive project, in a video posted at the i4ultimate.com website.
Professional engineers like the ones at Volkert make the marvels of modern construction a reality. And for every engineer, there’s a commitment to continued education or professional development hours.
PDH Academy offers the courses that you need to keep licensing and professional organization memberships current. Check out our courses to learn about which opportunities are available for you.