Drivers urged to plan ahead this weekend as FDOT shutsdown I-4 this Saturday and Sunday in Lakeland

WB I-4 closed Saturday, EB I-4 on Sunday

If the weather doesn't hijack your weekend plans, the interstate might.
 
Florida Department of Transportation plans to shutdown I-4 in Lakeland in both directions over the weekend. No westbound traffic will be allowed through Saturday.
 
Eastbound traffic gets hit Sunday.
 
The shutdown is due to necessary repairs on a CSX rail overpass near the Kathleen Road exit.
 
For those who work on the roads, this is a much dreaded weekend nightmare.
 
"Obviously as a transportation business, the faster we get to and form customers' homes, the less the costs are and the better it is for the customer," said Jonathan Crain, owner of Two Men and a Truck in Lakeland.
 
His team already started planning ahead.
 
They have eleven jobs Saturday and five more Sunday that will be effected by the total interstate shutdown.
 
"We're prepared for the worst and hoping for the best," he said. "I think a lot of the traffic is going to be happening on the Polk Parkway so we'll probably try to stick on local roads and get there early."
 
The main detour is 11 miles out of the way on the Polk Parkway.
 
It starts as a two-lane highway but eventually narrows to a single lane of traffic in both directions.
 
Truckers call it a nightmare scenario.
 
The good news: FDOT is suspending the tolls this weekend on the parkway, only in the direction of the detour.
 
"The best thing to do is to plan ahead and to allow considerable time in your schedule particularly if it's important that you get there at a certain time," said Sandra Mancil, FDOT Spokesperson.
 
FDOT said there was no perfect time to do the project, but officials picked a weekend to avoid impacting commuters.
 
She said CSX will work rain or shine, but if it becomes unsafe, it will stop and likely reopen the interstate until it's safe again.
 
Officials also expect Lakeland traffic to be extra busy with drivers trying to find their own solution.

Kathleen Road is located near mile marker 31. Westbound I-4 will be closed Saturday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., and eastbound will be closed Sunday during the same hours.

Here are the detours:

Saturday March 29

  • I-4 WB closed between Exit 32/US-98 and Exit 28/Memorial Blvd.
  • Local traffic - FDOT detour: exit at US-98 and go southbound to Memorial, then westbound on Memorial to I-4
  • Local traffic can also use WB/SB Lakeland Hills Boulevard to westbound US-92
  • Regional traffic: Use Exit 41 and take the Polk Parkway westbound to I-4. Tolls will be suspended westbound.

Sunday March 30

  • I-4 EB closed between Exit 28/Memorial and Exit 32/US-98
  • Local traffic - FDOT detour: exit at Memorial Boulevard and go eastbound to US-98, then northbound to I-4
  • Local traffic can also use eastbound US-92 to US-98
  • Regional traffic: Exit Exit 27 and take the Polk Parkway eastbound to I-4. Tolls will be suspended eastbound.
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