I-4 in downtown Orlando to close 5 days for construction starting Wednesday night

A section of Interstate 4 through downtown Orlando will be closed from Wednesday night through next Monday morning as part of a plan to speed up road construction projects during the coronavirus pandemic.

This is part of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ plan to complete as many road construction projects as possible while people are largely still working from home during the virus outbreak.

The closure is part of the I-4 Ultimate construction project, which is adding toll lanes to 21 miles of the interstate from north of State Road 434 in Seminole County, through Orlando and to west of Florida’s Turnpike in Orange County, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

"Taking advantage of the unique opportunity and less crowded roadways will allow key improvements on the I-4 Ultimate project to open in an expedited manner," the Florida Department of Transportation said in a statement.

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The newspaper reported the I-4 Ultimate project has been as been beset with delays, cost overruns and worker fatalities. 

The closure of all but one westbound lane will allow workers maintaining extended shifts to not have to mobilize and demobilize equipment and materials each day, officials said.

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I-4 is the area’s most congested road, carrying some 200,000 vehicles daily before the pandemic. Now that more people are staying home, traffic has lessened significantly.

The agency is urging drivers to avoid I-4 westbound until all lanes reopen on Monday.