• I-4 Ultimate Project to address dangerous Fairbanks curve


    ORLANDO, Fla. - A fiery crash on Interstate 4 early Wednesday morning caused major traffic problems for drivers near Par Street and the notorious Fairbanks curve, a stretch of road that will see major shutdowns as the I-4 Ultimate Project has begun.

    Channel 9's Racquel Asa reviewed plans for the project and found out more fixes for the dangerous stretch of roadway are in the works.

    A tractor-trailer driver lost control and crashed into the barrier overnight, causing his rig to go up in flames.

    "We were standing right here, and we saw flames down the highway," said Martin Unkefer who lives the the interstate.

    Unkefer said there are so many crashes around the Fairbanks curve that he rarely bats an eyelash anymore when he hears them.

    "At first, we got up and looked all the time," said Unkefer. "We got up and looked at this one because it was so bad. But we don't even look anymore."

    The I-4 Ultimate Project will address the steep curve and make it more gradual, Asa learned.

    "The engineers like to say there is a lot of geometry going on when the I-4 Ultimate," said Steve Olson, of the Florida Department of Transportation.  

    In 2012, FDOT tried to fix portions of I-4 at the Fairbanks curve with better pavement and markings, not far from Wednesday's crash. Since then, the area has seen less crashes, officials said.

    But FDOT said that number is on the rise again. There have been nearly 65 crashes in the area since the improvements were made two years ago.

    "The maintenance contractor will be looking at those and if there are any areas of concern," said Olson.

    Road closures for the I-4 Ultimate Project are expected to start in the summer.

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