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
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
East End – – Daytona Beach
Reconstruction of the systems interchange linking I-4 and I-95 with SR 400 (Beville Road) east through Spring 2020 shifts all traffic bound for I-95 to the left. Upon completion, two lanes will continue onto a new collector distributor roadway to I-95 at U.S. 92 (International Speedway Boulevard). Photo taken 05/24/17.
A new two-lane roadway replaced the single lane separation for I-95 south (Exit 132B) and SR 400 (Beville Road) east. The ramp for Miami passes below this roadway, having departed from the expanded northbound ramp to I-95 on the left. The interchange upgrade is part of a $205.0 million project widening 13.85 miles of Interstate 95 in Volusia County.4 Photo taken 05/24/17.
A second 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. Photo taken 05/24/17.
East End Throwback
Interstate 95 south at Interstate 4 when the sequential based exit numbering system was still in use. Photo taken by Garrett Hayman (11/02).
West End – Tampa
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. Photos taken 05/24/19.
I-275 north reduces to three through lanes below the flyovers with I-4 as Exit 45B departs for Ybor City, Lakeland and Orlando. Photos taken 05/24/19.
The flyover for Interstate 4 east (Exit 46B) departs in a half mile just beyond the Floribraska Avenue off-ramp (Exit 46A). Photos taken 05/24/19.
West End Throwback
The former configuration of I-4 west on its final mile. Interstate 275 makes a 90-degree turn at the forthcoming Downtown Interchange. Arriving from the west near Tampa International Airport (TPA), I-275 turns due north at I-4, en route to Interstate 75 and Ocala. Photos taken 12/27/00 and 12/02.
Westbound Interstate 4 at Interstate 275; this was the last series of sign bridges. The busy interchange was reconstructed from October 27, 2002 to December 22, 2006. Exit 26 (now Exit 45A) for Downtown – East Jefferson Street referred to the first southbound ramp of I-275. Picture taken by Gene Janczynskyi (10/25/00).
- “Toll idea advances despite opposition,” by Scott Powers, Orlando Sentinel; March 16, 2005; page A-1.
- Florida’s Interstates: A Half-Century of Progress
http://www.fl-interstate.com(official Florida Department of Transportation site)
- 408464-1 I-4 Widening from SR 44 (East New York Avenue) to East of I-95. CFLRoads, FDOT project web site.
- 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 June 1, 2019.