Two things are all but certain in Central Florida: Humid summer days and construction on I-4.
Channel 9 has learned that drivers in Seminole and Volusia counties will have to deal with I-4 construction a lot longer than the rest of Central Florida.
How much longer? About 10 years, to be exact.
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The next phase of construction involves adding express lanes, which crews are currently building from Longwood, through Orlando and on to the area near Universal. One of the next steps will involve building express lanes east of the current work zone: From Longwood in Seminole County to Howland Boulevard in Volusia County.
The 19-mile construction phase in Seminole and Volusia counties faces a funding problem, Channel 9 learned Thursday at a transportation panel for the Seminole County Chamber of Commerce, moderated by Channel 9 traffic anchor Racquel Asa.
>> Gallery: I-4 Ultimate project renderings
At the event, the secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation said there is currently no money budgeted for the next 10 years, so in order to get all 19 miles built, the project needs to be broken down into smaller sections.
That means drivers will need several years’ worth of patience.
The state said there is no timeline yet on when the new sections of express lanes would be built.
>> Follow traffic anchor Racquel Asa on Twitter for real-time traffic updates and important news about Central Florida roads
FDOT said it is looking at how to break up the 19 miles before starting construction and finding the money.
Meanwhile, the 21-mile stretch currently under construction from State Road 434 to Kirkman Road has been under construction for exactly four years. FDOT told Channel 9 Thursday that the project is still on track to be completed by the end of 2021.
FDOT also has plans for expanding I-4 west of the current project near Walt Disney World. Channel 9 reported last month that the department is purchasing the Crossroads Shopping Plaza on State Road 535, with plans to demolish the shopping plaza, expand the interchange and build a retention pond.
>> Also read: Businesses on Disney's doorstep will get a big paycheck to close up shop
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