The Design-Build Team is in the process of replacing the existing partial cloverleaf interchange with a new diamond configuration. The new interchange is designed to improve traffic circulation and enhance safety, emergency access, and truck access in Polk County, Florida. The project is located at Exit 48 along the I-4 corridor.
The intent of the project is to prepare the median along I-4 to accommodate the future I-4 Master Plan (Ultimate) improvements with provisions for special purpose (express) lanes and a high-speed rail (HSR) corridor. The existing eastbound and westbound general use travel lanes will be moved to the outside to coincide with the I-4 Ultimate alignment.
SR 557 will be widened to four travel lanes, two in each direction within the limits of the state's limited access right-of-way, with roadway transitions to the existing two-lane County Road (CR 557), north and south of the interchange.
The old two-lane bridge over I-4 has been demolished and replaced with a new four lane bridge that accommodates the necessary horizontal and vertical clearances over the I-4 Ultimate corridor. Motorists are now using the new bridge including the new dual teardrop shaped roundabouts that provide access to and from SR 557 at the I-4 on and off-ramps. Motorists should expect several changes to the traffic pattern and use caution as crews continue working on the new ramps and new eastbound lanes, all while keeping traffic flowing during construction.
Other improvements at the new interchange include a new wildlife crossing under the interstate just east of the interchange to allow wildlife to safely cross between the north and south sides of I-4, emergency stopping locations on both the I-4 off-ramps to SR 557 and new conventional lighting along I-4 and SR 557.
For 50 years animals on either side of I-4 have been separated. The addition of the wildlife crossing is significant in providing safe passage for animals to access protected lands on both sides of the interstate, while also protecting drivers from crashes that may otherwise occur when animals do attempt to cross the roadway.
A public hearing was held on Thursday, October 23, 2020 to present proposed access changes on SR 557 south of Interstate 4. If you have questions regarding the information presented at the public hearing, please contact the FDOT design project manager, Douglas J. Burkhart, P.E., at (813) 402-4150 or by e-mail at Doug.Burkhart@dot.state.fl.us.
Our goal is to keep you informed about the progress of the project. If you have questions about the project during construction, please contact Community Outreach Manager, Sandra Mancil at (863) 519-4116 or by email at Sandra.Mancil@dot.state.fl.us.
Please note that under Florida law, email addresses are public records. If you do not want your email address released in response to a public records request, do not send electronic mail.
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This week the contractor will continue work on the new I-4 travel lanes and exit ramps and will shift traffic onto the new eastbound lanes.
Wednesday, December 6: The contractor will close the eastbound entrance and exit ramps between SR/CR 557 and Interstate 4. Also watch for double I-4 eastbound lane closures.
Eastbound I-4 on-ramp DETOUR: Northbound motorists traveling on SR/CR 557 wanting to enter I-4 eastbound will detour at CR 557A and turn left (west) to SR 559 and turn left (south) to enter I-4 eastbound. Southbound motorists can follow the same detour or enter I-4 westbound to SR 559, exit the interstate and reenter the interstate headed east.
Eastbound I-4 off-ramp DETOUR: Eastbound motorists traveling on I-4 wanting to exit onto SR/CR 557 (Exit 48) should exit at the prior interchange at SR 559 (Exit 44) and turn left (north) to CR 557A and turn right (East) to CR 557.
Tuesday, December 5, through Friday, December 8: Motorists should expect double lane closures on I-4 westbound starting at 10 p.m. while the contractor relocates barrier wall on the inside shoulder. Use caution and be prepared to merge.