Central Florida Democrats want to know why I-4 construction is 9 months behind schedule

Central Florida Democrats want a briefing from Florida transportation officials regarding why construction on the I-4 Ultimate Project is nine months behind schedule.

U.S. Reps. Darren Soto, Val Demings and Stephanie Murphy sent a letter Friday to the Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Kevin J. Thibault expressing concern that the project to reconstruct and widen 21 miles of Interstate 4 won't be done by early 2021 as initially estimated.

A recent progress report prepared by the builder and submitted to FDOT shows the project is nine months behind.

"According to the March progress report prepared by the builder, which was made public earlier this month, the delay is the result of multiple factors, including the impact from Hurricane Irma, foundation design flaws, a cracked bridge pier, and the delayed opening of a bridge," the letter says. "These problems are in addition to the week-long work stoppage in February owing to the tragic death of a construction worker – the latest of several worker deaths that have occurred during construction."

Murphy, Soto and Demings want to know what FDOT's plan is to "mitigate these delays to the greatest extent feasible."

"We regularly hear from our constituents that the reconstruction of I-4 is complicating their commutes and compromising their safety, due to constantly-shifting and indistinct lanes, unfamiliar terrain, and the unpredictable placement of concrete barricades," the letter says. "Given the possibility that the project will be extended another nine months, we respectfully request a briefing on the construction delays."

FDOT spokesperson Steve Olson says the agency is currently reviewing the letter from the Central Florida congressional delegation.

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