The extensive revamping of the Maitland interchange on Interstate 4 (I-4) has begun, as construction crews work to remove the large dirt mound on the eastbound side of the highway.
The gently rising hill, known humorously as Mount Maitland, had been built years earlier to reinforce the spot after a huge, ancient sinkhole was found during an earlier improvement project. In order to stabilize the area, the construction team pumped grout into the sinkhole. The strong supportive material eventually filled an underground area that was as large as a football field and the equivalent, top to bottom, to the SunTrust Center office tower.
With the ground now stabilized, the mound on top is no longer needed, and its removal signals one of the first highly visible starting points for the I-4 Ultimate project. By the end of the project, commuters should see great improvement in traffic flow around the interchange, as well as a beautiful, curving pedestrian bridge over I-4 that increases safety and visual appeal.
The effort to revamp a 21-mile section of the interstate to address the current and future needs of Central Florida is expected to take six and a half years. However, there are incentives to have the Maitland portion of the project finished in three years.
The dirt from the mound is being piled in a nearby open field. As construction on I-4 Ultimate continues, that excavated dirt will be used to build up the base of the new roadway.