I-4 pothole deflates dozens of tires, causes damage

The Florida Department of Transportation said a pothole on Interstate 4 westbound in Longwood is temporarily repaired and crews are tentatively scheduled to make the permanent repair Wednesday night.

All lanes on I-4 WB near Longwood reopened in time for the Wednesday morning commute after dozens of drivers experienced flat tires because of a large pothole on Tuesday evening.

The pothole opened about 8:30 p.m., according to the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP). Troopers blocked off the right and center lanes between E.E. Williamson Rd. almost to the Longwood exit at State Road 434. All lanes were reopened Wednesday morning.

“I heard this loud ‘bang,’” said Erick Valdes, I-4 driver.

Erick Valdes, one of the dozens of drivers, brought to a stop. Once stopped, Valdes realized not only was his tire flat, his rim was bent, bumper cracked and a chunk missing from his hubcap, about $500 in damage.

“Money is tight, especially when you have a big family, it’s not easy but it’s something to look forward to and try to see if I can get some help,” said Valdes.

Valdes now turning to his insurance and the Florida Department of Transportation for help, saying he should not be on the hook for damage caused by road conditions.

“That shouldn’t even be there in the first place because that’s very hazardous, we have cars going up and down that road 24/7, and that could also cause a major accident,” said Valdes.

Drivers impacted have the option of filing a claim on the I-4 Ultimate website but unreported road conditions and weather-related events and conditions releases FDOT from liability.

In a statement, a spokesperson for FDOT said, "inclement weather may have played a part" in the pothole opening up after Central Florida saw a lot of rain Tuesday.

Multiple cars were sidelined near mile marker 94 after striking the pothole which is located in the center lane of the roadway. 

You can view live traffic conditions on our webite or by downloading the FOX 35 Weather and Traffic app. For those familiar with this section of I-4, it is in close proximity to a rest area and is presently undergoing construction as part of the I-4 Ultimate Project. See map below: