Interstate 4

I-4 Florida
History
East End
West End

Overview

Located wholly within the Sunshine State, Interstate 4 comprises a southwest to northeast route across the Florida peninsula. The freeway connects the metropolitan areas of Tampa-St. Petersburg, Lakeland-Winter Haven, Orlando and Daytona Beach. With the ever expanding population and development in the state, I-4 is a major transportation corridor that was inadequate at its original four lanes. Various construction programs completed between the mid 1990s and 2008 improved the capacity of the route between Tampa and Orlando, with six-lane expansion through Volusia County finished in spring 2017.

The entire length of Interstate 4 doubles as State Road 400. SR 400 extends east as a stand alone route from the freeway end at I-95 to U.S. 1 along the Daytona Beach and South Daytona city line. The XPress 400 toll plan related to the SR 400 numbering of I-4.

Through Orange and Seminole Counties along with the city of Orlando, a variety of improvements were proposed, most of which were controversial. In October 2003, the “Mobility 20/20” tax plan proposed an expanded Interstate 4 through the metropolitan area, but that was rejected by voters. One of the reasons cited for the failure of this tax was opposition to toll lanes on I-4. Nevertheless, the idea returned in March 2005.

During that time, officials proposed a managed lanes concept that is similar to the reversible and high occupancy vehicle lane concept found in Southern California, such as California 91 (Riverside Freeway) and Interstate 15 (Escondido Freeway). These highways feature managed lanes in the median that can be adjusted to allow for more traffic in either direction. High occupancy vehicles use the lanes for free, while single occupancy vehicles are charged an electronic toll. Named the XPress 400 and outlined along I-4 from SR 435 (Kirkman Road) to SR 434, the toll lanes were estimated to cost over $1.5 billion to complete in 2005. Under the management of Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise, the project proposed constructing new toll lanes in the median, adding a continuous fourth lane in both directions, straightening out some sections of the freeway, and redesigning interchanges. Completion was envisioned by 2013.1

I-4 Ultimate Project

The Trans4mation project resulted in some improvements to area interchanges, such as the building of a new flyover from I-4 west to John Young Parkway and completion of Phase 1 of the I-4 and SR 408 (East West Expressway) interchange upgrade. The remainder of work is now apart of the I-4 Ultimate Project. The current initiative focuses on 21 miles of Interstate 4, from south of SR 435 (Kirkman Road) in Orange County to north of SR 434 in Seminole County. The $2.3-billion project kicked off in early 2015 and runs through early 2021. Work rebuilds 15 interchanges, replaces 75 bridges and adds four Express Lanes along the median of I-4.

Parallel U.S. Routes

Interstate 4 parallels U.S. 92 eastward from Tampa to Lakeland, with the two running close by through Mango and Plant City. Where I-4 shifts northeast, U.S. 92 stays east, leaving the freeway for Auburndale, Winter Haven and Haines City. U.S. 92 turns north at Haines City along an overlap with U.S. 17 to Kissimmee, but staying somewhat distant from I-4. U.S. 441 combines with the pair from Kissimmee through Orlando along Orange Blossom Trail, which converges with the I-4 corridor southwest of Downtown Orlando.

U.S. 441 branches northwest to Apopka at the U.S. 17 & 92 eastern turn onto Colonial Drive ahead of I-4. The pair extend northward to Maitland, Casselberry and Lake Mary to cross paths with I-4 again at Sanford. U.S. 17 parts ways with U.S. 92 and the I-4 vicinity at DeLand for Palatka while U.S. 92 turns east through Tomoka Wildlife Management Area. Two wye interchanges and a connector join I-4 and U.S. 92 to the west of their respective interchanges with I-95 at Daytona Beach.

History

As originally planned, Interstate 4 continued southwest on what is now Interstate 275 from its western terminus across the Howard Frankland Bridge into St. Petersburg. Some plans extended Interstate 4 further west from Downtown St. Pete to the Gulf of Mexico, but these plans never came to fruition.

The extension of Interstate 75 south to Fort Myers and Naples in 1971 replaced Interstate 4 west from the Downtown Interchange in Tampa to Pinellas County. The 1971 General Drafting Map of Florida shows the Howard Frankland Bridge co-signed as Interstate 4 and Interstate 75; by 1973, the bridge was shown as Interstate 275, with Interstate 75 rerouted onto a new alignment east of Tampa.

The following are significant milestones in the history of Interstate 4:2

  • 1959 – Interstate 4 opened from Plant City to Lakeland (first segment to open). Interstate 4 under construction (1) from Tampa to Plant City and (2) on the Howard Frankland Bridge (which was then part of Interstate 4)
  • 1960 – Interstate 4 opened along (1) the Howard Frankland Bridge, (2) from East Tampa east to Lakeland, and (3) from Lake Monroe to near Lake Helen. Proposed (as yet unconstructed) sections that year on Interstate 4 included those in St. Petersburg, in Tampa, from Lakeland to Orlando, and from Lake Helen to Tiger Bay State Forest.
  • 1961 – Interstate 4 opened from Lakeland to Orlando and under construction from Lake Helen east to Daytona Beach. Sections still unconstructed and proposed included segments in St. Petersburg, in Tampa, and from Orlando to Sanford.
  • 1963 – The only section of Interstate 4 in Tampa that had still not yet built was between Armenia and 22nd Street.
  • 1963 – In Orlando, Interstate 4 was complete up to Robinson Street and was labeled “Orlando Expressway.”
  • 1969 – Interstate 75 extended south, sharing an alignment with Interstate 4 from Tampa southwest to St. Petersburg.
  • 1971 – Beginning of Interstate 4 truncated to the Downtown Interchange with Interstate 75 (renumbered Interstate 275 in 1973) in Tampa. Interstate 4 now complete from Interstate 275 in Tampa to Interstate 95 in Daytona Beach.

Route Information

  • East End – Daytona Beach, FL

  • West End – Tampa, FL

  • Branch Routes – 0

  • Mileage – 132.30

  • Cities – Tampa, Lakeland, Orlando, Daytona Beach

  • Junctions

Source: December 31, 2018 Interstate Route Log and Finders List

I-4 Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT)

Source: 2018 AADT – Florida Traffic Online (FDOT)

SR 408 east at I-4 - Orlando, FL

SR 408 (East-West Expressway) eastbound on the approach to Interstate 4 (Exit 10) in Orlando. Ramps to I-4 opened in 2008 replaced a turnpike style trumpet-to-trumpet connection. 05/16/08

The exchange between Interstate 4 and SR 408 (East-West Expressway) is one of the busiest along the 132-mile freeway. The Ultimate I-4 project will complete the redesign of the exchange into a high-speed interchange.

Tampa Bay, FL - 1971

Interstate 75 was extended south to Naples in 1971, replacing the western most stretch of I-4 from the Downtown Interchange in Tampa to St. Petersburg in Pinellas County. While in the transition period that year, General Drafting opted to show both routes cosigned across the Howard Frankland Bridge.

Central Florida - 1963

The 1963 Florida Official Highway Map shows that the bulk of Interstate 4 was already open to traffic. The freeway was completed northward to Robinson Street (SR 526) that year. Construction of the Interstate 4 overall was eventually finished in 1966.

I-275 south at I-4 / Downtown Interchange - Tampa, FL

Interstate 275 passes below ramps with I-4 at the Downtown Interchange in Tampa. 04/26/16

Adjacent Toll Roads

Several toll roads have been constructed to provide an alternate to Interstate 4 and commuter routes throughout Central Florida. Some of these routes include the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway (SR 618) at Tampa; the Polk Parkway (SR 570) around Lakeland; the Central Florida GreeneWay (SR 417) around the east side of Orlando and the Daniel Webster Western Beltway (SR 429) around the west side of Orlando. The Wekiva Parkway (SR 429), extending the Western Beltway north from Apopka to Sanford, is currently under construction.

Highway Guides

East End – – Daytona Beach

I-4 East at I-95 Florida State Road 400

I-4 east at I-95 - Daytona Beach, FL

Widening of the 12.34 mile section of Interstate 4 from SR 44 east to I-95 was completed in Spring 2017. The $143.0 million project expanded what was the last four-lane stretch of I-4 in the state.3 03/26/20

I-4 east at I-95 - Daytona Beach, FL

A series of arrow per lane (APL) overheads precede the separation for SR 400 east (Exit 132A) to South Daytona and the ramps (Exit 132B) for Interstate 95. 03/26/20

I-4 east at I-95 - Daytona Beach, FL

Reconstruction of the systems interchange linking I-4 and I-95 east through Spring 2020 shifted traffic for SR 400 (Beville Road) onto a separate roadway (Exit 132A). The mainline continues with two lanes to collector distributor roadways linking I-95 with U.S. 92 (International Speedway Boulevard). 03/26/20

I-4 east at I-95/SR 400 - South Daytona, FL

CR 415 (Tomoka Farms Road) spans I-4 east at the gore point for Exit 132A for SR 400 (Beville Road). 03/26/20

I-4 east at I-95 - South Daytona, FL

Exit 132B departs for I-95 south below the ramp for SR 400. The interchange upgrade was part of a $205.0 million project widening 13.85 miles of Interstate 95 in Volusia County.4 03/26/20

I-4 east at SR 400 - South Daytona, FL

An end shield formally concludes the freeway ahead of a service station and Andros Isles Boulevard. SR 400 extends east 4.2 miles to U.S. 1 (Ridgewood Avenue) at South Daytona. Connecting roads (CR 4009 and SR 483) serve interests to Daytona International Speedway, Daytona International Airport (DAB) and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. 05/24/17

I-95 South at I-4 Florida State Road 400

I-95 south at I-4 - Daytona Beach, FL

I-95 south ahead the wye interchange (Exit 260B) with Interstate 4 west for Orlando before the systems interchange project. A three-quarter cloverleaf interchange joined the freeway end and Beville Boulevard (SR 400 to the east) at Exit 260A. 01/03/14

I-95 south at I-4 - Daytona Beach, FL

Two lanes connect I-95 south with I-4 west to DeLand, Deltona, Sanford and Orlando. This ramp was relocated westward to depart from a c/d roadway built to eliminate weaving traffic between U.S. 92 and Interstate 4. 01/03/14

I-95 south at I-4 - 2003

An end shield for I-95 appeared along the off-ramp from to I-4 west. This sign catered to tourist traffic bound for the Orlando resort area, as I-95 does not conclude for another 260 miles south in Miami. Photo by Daniel Davis (06/08/03).

I-95 North at I-4 Florida State Road 400

I-95 north at I-4/SR 400 - South Daytona, FL

Interstate 95 north at Exit 260A for the continuation of State Road 400 east from the I-4 freeway end to South Daytona. A new c/d roadway replaced these ramps during the systems interchange reconstruction project through Spring 2020. Photo taken 02/23/14.

Florida State Road 400 West at I-4 I-95

SR 400 west at I-4/95 - South Daytona, FL

SR 400 (Beville Road) constitutes an arterial route west from South Daytona to the beginning of Interstate 4. Pictured here is the former northbound on-ramp to I-95, which was replaced by a new ramp departing further east to the new c/d roadway north for U.S. 92. 05/24/17

SR 400 west at I-4/95 - South Daytona, FL

Both roadways linking SR 400 with I-4 were rebuilt and moved to new alignments. The loop ramp for I-95 south was replaced with a left side ramp, with four lanes passing over Interstate 95 on a new overpass. 05/24/17

I-4 East End Throwback

I-95 south at I-4 - 2002

Interstate 95 south at Interstate 4 when the sequential based exit numbering system was still in use. Photo by Garrett Hayman (11/02).

I-4 east at I-95 - 2013

A ground level end sign was posted 1.5 miles ahead of the freeway transition to SR 400 (Beville Boulevard). This assembly was removed during widening of I-4 to six lanes. 07/27/13

I-4 east at I-95 - 2013

A single lane left exit ramp, originally striped for two lanes, joined Interstate 95 north to St. Augustine, Jacksonville and points north. The mainline continued to I-95 south and SR 400 east. 07/27/13

I-4 east at I-95 - 2013

Continuing east along Interstate 4, the right lane defaulted onto I-95 south to the Space Coast, Fort Lauderdale and Miami while the left lane extended east as Exit 132 to Beville Boulevard and South Daytona. 07/27/13

I-4 east at I-95 - 2017

Four end signs for Interstate 4 were added by 2017. These were replaced in 2019 with APL signs. 05/24/17

I-4 east at I-95 - 2017

Reconstruction of the systems interchange linking I-4/95 with SR 400 (Beville Road) east shifted all traffic bound for Interstate 95 to the left. 05/24/17

I-4 east at I-95 - 2017

A new two-lane roadway replaced the single lane separation for I-95 south (Exit 132B) and SR 400 (Beville Road) east. 05/24/17

I-4 east at I-95 - 2017

Construction for the new roadway connecting I-4 east with SR 400 took shape at the former off-ramp for Interstate 95 south to Miami. 05/24/17

West End – Tampa

I-4 West at I-275

I-4 west at I-275 - Tampa, FL

An end sign for Interstate 4 was added to the freeway in 2006. The freeway through Tampa and Ybor City area was completely rebuilt with a larger foot print and wide grassy median reserved for future tolled Express Lanes or light rail. 05/30/19

I-4 west at I-275 - Tampa, FL

Traffic congestion is a routine occurrence along I-4 west at the Downtown Interchange due to the heavy merge with Interstate 275 southbound. 05/30/19

I-4 west at I-275 - Tampa, FL

The four westbound lanes of Interstate 4 separate into three movements at the Downtown Interchange. I-275 leads through north Tampa by the University of South Florida (USF) campus to Lutz and I-75 at Wesley Chapel. 05/30/19

I-4 west at I-275 - Tampa, FL

Exit 45A joins a distributor roadway along I-275 south to Jefferson Street and Ashley Drive into Downtown Tampa. A separate flyover was built for this ramp during 2002-06 reconstruction of the three-wye interchange. 05/30/19

I-275 North at I-4

I-275 north at I-4 - Tampa, FL
I-275 north at I-4 - Tampa, FL

Interstate 275 travels over a series of a viaducts north of the Tampa central business district east to the Downtown Interchange (Exit 45B) with I-4. 05/24/19

I-275 north at I-4 - Tampa, FL
I-275 north at I-4 - Tampa, FL

I-275 north reduces to three through lanes below the flyovers with I-4 as Exit 45B departs for Ybor City, Lakeland and Orlando. 05/24/19

I-275 South at I-4

I-275 south at I-4 - Tampa, FL
I-275 south at I-4 - Tampa, FL

The flyover for Interstate 4 east (Exit 46B) departs in a half mile just beyond the Floribraska Avenue off-ramp (Exit 46A). 05/24/19

I-275 south at I-4 - Tampa, FL

One mile traffic backups occur regularly along I-275 south from SR 574 (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard) to the single lane ramp for I-4 east. 05/24/19

I-275 south at I-4 - Tampa, FL

A distributor roadway (Exit 45A) departs I-275 south for the Tampa central business district as the mainline reduces to two through lanes at the Downtown Interchange. I-4 maintains six to eight overall lanes east from Ybor City nearby nine miles to I-75 near Mango. 05/24/19

I-4 West End Throwback

I-4 West at I-275

I-4 west at I-275 - Ybor City

Heading west from Historic YBor City in Tampa, Interstate 4 traveled with four lanes toward the Downtown Interchange with I-275. Photo by Carter Buchanan (12/00).

I-4 west at I-275 - Ybor City

Previous overheads for I-275 referenced I-75 north to Ocala, predating the completion of Interstate 75 between I-4 and Wesley Chapel. References for I-75 North were carried over to sign replacements until 2005. Photo by Carter Buchanan (12/00).

I-4 west at I-275 - 2000

An auxiliary lane accompanied the final approach to Interstate 275. I-4 maintains three westbound lanes here now, though traffic congestion remains routine. Photo by Justin Cozart (12/02).

I-4 west at I-275 - 2000

Traffic partitioned into single lane ramps for I-275 and Jefferson Street (old Exit 26) at the west end of Interstate 4. The overhead referencing I-75 North was carbon copied by December 2000. Photo by Gene Janczynskyi (10/25/00).

I-4 west at I-275 - 2000

The Downtown Interchange was reconstructed from October 27, 2002 to December 22, 2006. Work added a separate flyover for Downtown – East from the ramp for Interstate 275 south. Photo by Carter Buchanan (12/00).

I-275 North at I-4

I-275 north at I-4 - 2000

Interstate 275 north at the Downtown Interchange with I-4 east. “To I-75 North” references were retained here as well, despite having been completed north from I-4 to Pasco County in 1985. Photo by Carter Buchanan (12/00).

I-275 South at I-4

I-275 south at I-4 - 2000

Until 2000, guide signs for Interstate 4 east on I-275 referenced “TO I-75 South – Naples.” These were carried over from previous signs posted prior to the 1986 completion of I-75 in Hillsborough County. Photo by Gene Janczynskyi (10/25/00).

I-275 south at I-4 - 2000

With two lanes continuing south along I-275 and a single lane flyover for I-4 east, the traffic pattern at the Downtown Interchange remains the same today. Photo by Gene Janczynskyi (10/25/00).

Sources

  1. “Toll idea advances despite opposition,” by Scott Powers, Orlando Sentinel; March 16, 2005; page A-1.
  2. Florida’s Interstates: A Half-Century of Progress http://www.fl-interstate.com (official Florida Department of Transportation site)
  3. 408464-1 I-4 Widening from SR 44 (East New York Avenue) to East of I-95. CFLRoads, FDOT project web site.
  4. 242715-2 I-95 Widening and Systems Interchange Reconstruction Design-Build from North of SR 44 to North of US 92. CFLRoads, FDOT project web site.

Page updated May 26, 2020.