When you make your next trip to Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando, your drive might just be a little easier thanks to the efforts of Governor Ron DeSantis, and the men and women of Florida’s Department of Transportation.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis arrived in Orlando, Florida on Monday, May 18, to commemorate the opening of a massive new interchange between Interstate 4 and FL 408 part of what is called “The I-4 Ultimate Project.” While the event was a celebration of one interchange’s reopening, DeSantis used the opportunity to reaffirm his commitment to doing what is necessary to increase the ease and safety of traffic for anyone needing to traverse I-4 and the other heavily congested roadways of the Orlando area.
WATCH: Gov, Ron DeSantis is in Orlando to make a transportation announcement https://t.co/8ixpQt8EMI
— WESH 2 News (@WESH) May 18, 2020
DeSantis reminded reporters that back in April, he told the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to continue to keep construction open and use the lack of traffic as an opportunity to get ahead on several I-4 projects. He said that they knew construction could remain open while the majority of the state had to lockdown and that they could continue construction within proper safety guidelines.
“I viewed that as an opportunity for the State of Florida to get ahead on some of our transportation and infrastructure projects,” he said. “I wanted to be sure we maximized construction efforts to support Florida’s economy and ensure Florida was able to reopen stronger than before.”
This I-4/ SR 408 interchange project alone was completed three months ahead of schedule and retained over 1,500 jobs. It is still too soon to tell how far other projects will have advanced, but FDOT has accelerated over 40 projects total across the entire state, including modifications to general-use westbound and eastbound lanes. DeSantis said that the acceleration would eliminate over 650 contract days.
DeSantis stressed the importance of the Orlando area for Florida’s economy, calling it the top tourist destination in the world mostly in part due to its world-class resorts like Walt Disney World and Universal. And he stressed that transportation is a major necessity to that continued success.
The Florida governor said, “When Walt Disney chose the location to build the Magic Kingdom, he did so to its close proximity to the I-4/Turnpike interchange. Having the right infrastructure really does provide a foundation for future growth. Obviously we’ve seen that with the theme parks.”
The I-4 corridor in Orlando, Florida is one of the busiest corridors in the state, plagued by congestion and accidents. It is the hope that as the state begins to reopen once again, that people will reemerge to safer and even more accessible roadways and vital projects continue to be completed with unprecedented speed.