SURVIVING THE I-4 HELL
Anyone who has driven or ridden on Interstate 4 knows that it can be a quick way from Tampa to Orlando and Daytona Beach...if you're on it at the right time. It can also be a living hell during rush hour, even in Polk County, and especially now that the Florida Department Of Transportation is widening the interstate to six lanes.
The Lakeland Ledger featured the I-4 situation in today's edition with three stories: An overview of the current situation, a feature of how some commuters see their daily drive, and a look at what's ahead.
Personally, I feel they should have widened I-4 to eight lanes instead of six. This is a common error...poor planing. By the time the current project is completed, it will have actually done little to allieviate the nearly constant bottlenecks, and FDOT will decide that it's time to start again.
Some thought that construction of the Polk Parkway toll road would have helped, but so far that seems only minimal. While toll roads are commonplace around Tampa and Orlando, locals here are still getting used to the idea. That'll take some time, and the new University of South Florida Lakeland Campus site will help toward that (but that's a few years away; the Polk Parkway runs across the eastern edge of the property on the map).
Here's the FDOT page for Polk County construction projects.