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Florida Makes Most Of Coronavirus ‘Pause’ By Fast-Tracking Road Construction

Orange traffic cones
Photo by Juliana Amorim on Unsplash

Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to make the most of having fewer drivers on the road. During a Saturday morning news conference, DeSantis announced plans to accelerate work on the Florida I-4 Ultimate project.“We should take advantage of this pause. There’s a lot of things, a lot of people aren’t going to work, kids aren’t able to go to school. So there’s a lot of negatives involved. So the fact that we don’t have as many people on the roads, let’s take advantage of that and make some progress,” DeSantis said.

The $2.3 billion project involves reconstructing 21 miles of interstate in Orange and Seminole Counties. DeSantis said the Florida Department of Transportation will be focusing its efforts on some of the most

A colorful map with a red road through the middle
Credit Florida Department of Transportation
The project map for the I-4 Ultimate project. Governor Ron DeSantis wants to accelerate work on parts of the project while fewer drivers are on the road.

heavily traveled areas that are involved in the project including Westbound I-4 starting from the State Road 434 interchange in Longwood, extending through downtown Orlando, and including parts of the State Road 408 interchange. FDOT Secretary Kevin Thibault said the goal is to speed up work by one or two months.

“We’re trying to get things done so that when normalcy returns, the normalcy can also happen as part of our roadways,” Thibault said.

DeSantis said work on the I-4 Ultimate project isn’t the only work that will be fast-tracked. He wants to use the “pause period” created by coronavirus to pave the way for infrastructure improvements across the state.

“You look on the roads, there’s not a lot of traffic. That gave us the opportunity to make some progress, on key projects--infrastructure projects. You can close more lanes. You can have people work longer. And you can really make progress so that when we do come back economically, you’re going to be able to have better infrastructure,” DeSantis said.