Texas U-turns, exit closures and ramp changes: What’s in store for I-4 commute into downtown Orlando

Video: Texas U-turns, exit closures and ramp changes: What?s in store for I-4 commute into downtown Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla. — The change at the I-4 South Street exit wasn’t the only issue commuters had to adjust to Monday morning.

The area of I-4 between Orange Blossom Trail and Kaley Avenue is also different, and will keep changing until the project is done.

Report: Sections of I-4 Ultimate project hit roadblocks with delays, penalties

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With the I-4 eastbound from Michigan Street closed again, travelers will have to get on the interstate from Kaley Avenue.

A video provided by the I-4 Ultimate Project shows the same ramps that are constantly opening and closing, Kaley Avenue and Michigan Street will eventually come back when it’s all done, meaning drivers will have access to I-4 eastbound from Kaley and Michigan.

Once it’s done, there will also be something called a Texas U-turn under I-4 to get commuters to those ramps.

The Texas U-turn connecting Kaley Avenue and Michigan Street will allow drivers traveling on a one-way frontage road to U-turn in an opposite direction without waiting at a traffic light, according to I-4 Ultimate Project officials.

While this idea seems different for this area, Texas U-Turns are not new to Central Florida -- there is one at State Road 434 and 17/92 and at Colonial Drive and Semoran Boulevard.

FDOT said the temporary configurations of the Kaley Avenue, Michigan Street and Orange Blossom Trail ramps will be in place for approximately one year to allow crews to safely construct permanent eastbound I-4 lanes.

The eastbound I-4 exit ramp to South Street, currently combined with the eastbound I-4 exit to State Road 408, shifted into its final alignment last week. The new exit begins approximately a quarter-mile farther east than the current exit location.

The constant changes are difficult for drivers when their GPS devices can’t keep up.

FDOT officials said the exit to S.R. 408 will not change.

The eastbound I-4 entrance ramp from Michigan Street closed Friday. FDOT said drivers wanting to access eastbound I-4 will need to use the new temporary entrance ramp to eastbound I-4 from Kaley Avenue, which opened Saturday morning.

FDOT said the entrance ramp to eastbound I-4 from Orange Blossom Trail is also shifting slightly from its current location. Drivers will now need to be in the left lane after crossing Michigan Street to continue to eastbound I-4.

Field biologist Jimmie Torregrosa, of Sanford, keeps track of all the I-4 changes.

“Looking at the news and the traffic and the weather is always prime when I leave the house,” he said.

He rides a motorcycle and, from work, he has to drive to different sites and wetlands. To avoid I-4 chaos, he’s started getting on the road earlier.

"My office doesn’t open until 8 a.m. I got to my office this morning before 6:30 and I’d rather wait in the parking lot if I have to, the wait in traffic. (It’s) more dangerous, Torregrosa said.

Amelia Street will be closed between Hughey and Garland avenues.
Amelia Street will be closed between Hughey and Garland avenues. (Florida Department of Transportation)
VIDEO: Watch out for these road shifts on I-4