Weekend closure of part of I-4 in Lakeland expected to cause traffic delays

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POLK COUNTY, Fla. —

A section of Interstate 4 in Polk County is going to be closed this weekend and it could put a damper on many people’s weekend plans.

I-4 will be closed westbound between US-98 at exit 32 and West Memorial Boulevard at exit 28 in Lakeland.

For Orlando drivers heading in that direction, the detour will take them 26 miles out of their way on a toll road.

Road crews need to make major repairs to railroad tracks by exit 31, which spans over I-4.

As a safety precaution they are closing the interstate because 80,000 to 90,000 drivers pass underneath the bridge every day.

Even though the closure is almost 24 miles down the road from the Polk-Osceola county line, the Florida Department of Transportation is suggesting that all I-4 westbound traffic coming from Orlando heading to Tampa to exit at Polk Parkway and take it all the way to Bartow.

The Florida Department of Transportation said it will suspend tolls once they close I-4.
Polk County resident Javier Cortes was planning to go his normal route along I-4 to and from Kissimmee during the weekend but will have to adjust his plans.

“It’s going to be a biggie because you have so many people traveling on I-4  constantly every day, especially on the weekends,” Cortes said.

Orlando and Osceola County drivers headed to Tampa will have to get around the closure using Polk Parkway. 
It’s a 26-mile detour but is expected to be faster than sitting at traffic lights and local roads.

“The tolls have been suspended in the direction of travel and the direction of the detour, so we encourage [drivers] to use the parkway,” said Sandra Mancil, with the Florida Department of Transportation.

The closure on I-4 will last for a good portion of the day Saturday, starting at 6 a.m. and ending at 8 p.m. Once crews are finished with the work on the westbound side, they will close the eastbound side on Sunday.

Drivers who are using that section of I-4 this weekend are also urged to check traffic conditions with the Florida Highway Patrol and Florida 511.

Once crews are done with one side of the bridge they'll close the side that spans I-4 eastbound on Sunday.