ORLANDO, Fla. - The I-4 Ultimate Improvement Project will receive an award Thursday even though it has another four years of construction.
The Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure will award the project an Envision Platinum rating during a ceremony, making it the state's first road project to earn the prestigious national recognition.
Loreen Bobo, who manages the project's construction program, said the rating was awarded because of the project's sustainability.
Ninety-nine percent of the concrete and steel used for the massive expansion are materials recycled from demolished bridges, Bobo said.
"Envision, right now, is really looking at the design process," she said. "We have taken in the new design standards, our new traffic patterns, our new neighborhoods, all the new folks (who) have (moved here) in the last 50 to 60 years."
The organization also factored in that the project is on-schedule and isn't over budget.
The project includes pedestrian bridges, new overpasses and trails -- features officials said were designed with the input of residents and visitors.
The Grand National Drive overpass for instance is designed to provide tourists direct access from the Orlando International Premium Outlets to Universal Orlando Resort. The overpass will be accessible to both drivers and pedestrians.
Visitor Robert Jones said he looks forward to the new access to parks and shops.
"At the moment, we have to travel on the green bus to the red route and it takes about an hour," he said. "I'd rather just walk over to the outlets."
Bobo said the six years of construction will be worth drivers' wait.
"We want to make it better for you," she said. "We want you to get to where you are going, we want you to get there safely and we want you to get there on time."
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