Interstate 4 eastbound lanes closed in Polk for overpass repair work

Repair work on an Interstate 4 railroad overpass continued Sunday in Polk County, prompting the closure of the eastbound lanes.

Repair work wrapped up around 8 p.m., at which I-4 reopened to traffic between West Memorial Boulevard (Exit 28) and U.S. 98 (Exit 32).

On Saturday, the westbound lanes were closed.

CSX is making repairs at the I-4 Kathleen Road overpass in Lakeland. As a result, the highway under the bridge was closed for safety purposes.

All traffic was diverted onto West Memorial Boulevard. Drivers heading east to Orlando were encouraged to use the Polk Parkway as a detour to reconnect with I-4 just west of State Road 559. Tolls will be suspended for eastbound traffic on the Polk Parkway during this time.

Officials said drivers who take advantage of the Polk Parkway detour should take note of the following:

  • Motorists should slow down when approaching the toll plaza, but should not stop.  Vehicles behind you will not be expecting you to stop.
  • Be prepared for delays or sudden, unexpected stops near the toll plazas; maintain proper spacing between vehicles.
  • All Polk Parkway entrance and exit ramps between mileposts 2 and 23 remain open during the detour.
  • The posted speed limit of 25 m.p.h. near the toll plazas will be strictly enforced.  Speeding fines double through the toll plazas when workers are present.
  • The northern/eastern seven miles of the Polk Parkway (between mileposts 18-25) is a two-lane roadway, featuring two-way traffic.
  • No passing is permitted between mileposts 18-25.
  • Motorists who have a SunPass or E-Pass in their vehicle will not be charged a toll.
  • Do not attempt to back up in a toll lane.
  • Stay in your lane when exiting the toll plaza.  Attempting to change lanes or jockey for position near the plaza will only result in additional delays and backups and could result in a crash.
  • Do not pull over and exit your vehicle near a toll plaza.  If your vehicle becomes disabled, pull over into the grass on the right side of the roadway, turn on your hazard lights and wait inside your vehicle for help to arrive.
  • Additional law enforcement personnel will be patrolling the Polk Parkway this weekend to ensure the safety of motorists.

Fatal Crash Slows Traffic on I-4 Eastbound at SR 559

According to reports, a pedestrian was hit by two vehicles on the overpass at the SR 559 interchange.

Traffic is backed up beginning at State Road 33 as drivers are funneled off the interstate eastbound at the SR 559 interchange. Traffic is being put right back on I-4 via the eastbound entrance ramp, but the Polk County Sheriff’s Office is advising motorists to find alternate routes.

Interstate 4 eastbound lanes reopen in Polk after repairs

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Interstate 4 eastbound lanes closed in Polk for overpass repair work

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I-4 Eastbound Lanes Closed in Polk for Overpass Repair Work

On Saturday, the westbound lanes were closed.

CSX is making repairs at the I-4 Kathleen Road overpass in Lakeland. As a result, the highway under the bridge will be closed for safety purposes.

The eastbound lanes of I-4 will be closed Sunday until around 8 p.m., between West Memorial Boulevard (Exit 28) and U.S. 98 (Exit 32).

All traffic will be diverted onto West Memorial Boulevard. Drivers heading east to Orlando are encouraged to use the Polk Parkway as a detour to reconnect with I-4 just west of State Road 559. Tolls will be suspended for eastbound traffic on the Polk Parkway during this time.

Officials said drivers who take advantage of the Polk Parkway detour should take note of the following:

Motorists should slow down when approaching the toll plaza, but should not stop. Vehicles behind you will not be expecting you to stop.

Be prepared for delays or sudden, unexpected stops near the toll plazas; maintain proper spacing between vehicles.

All Polk Parkway entrance and exit ramps between mileposts 2 and 23 remain open during the detour.

The posted speed limit of 25 m.p.h. near the toll plazas will be strictly enforced. Speeding fines double through the toll plazas when workers are present.

The northern/eastern seven miles of the Polk Parkway (between mileposts 18-25) is a two-lane roadway, featuring two-way traffic.

No passing is permitted between mileposts 18-25.

Motorists who have a SunPass or E-Pass in their vehicle will not be charged a toll.

Do not attempt to back up in a toll lane.

Stay in your lane when exiting the toll plaza. Attempting to change lanes or jockey for position near the plaza will only result in additional delays and backups and could result in a crash.

Do not pull over and exit your vehicle near a toll plaza. If your vehicle becomes disabled, pull over into the grass on the right side of the roadway, turn on your hazard lights and wait inside your vehicle for help to arrive.

Additional law enforcement personnel will be patrolling the Polk Parkway this weekend to ensure the safety of motorists.

I-4 closed at Kathleen Road this weekend in Polk County

Part of I-4 was closed this weekend in Polk County so crews can repair CSX railroad tracks, but has since reopened.

CSX is making repairs at the I-4 Kathleen Road overpass in Lakeland. As a result, they closed the highway under the bridge for safety purposes.

The first closure started Saturday, March 29 at 6 a.m. and is scheduled to last until 8 p.m.  The westbound lanes of I-4 will be closed between U.S. 98 (Exit 32) and West Memorial Boulevard (Exit 28).

During that time, all westbound traffic is being diverted onto U.S. 98 and the local road network. Drivers are encouraged to use the Polk Parkway to reconnect with I-4 at the Hillsborough County line. The Polk Parkway tolls will be suspended at all mainline and ramp toll plazas serving westbound traffic while I-4 is closed.

The eastbound lanes of I-4 will be closed Sunday, March 30, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., between West Memorial Boulevard (Exit 28) and U.S. 98 Exit 32).

All traffic will be diverted onto West Memorial Boulevard.  Drivers heading east to Orlando are encouraged to use the Polk Parkway as a detour to reconnect with I-4 just west of State Road 559.  Tolls will be suspended for eastbound traffic on the Polk Parkway during this time.

Officials said drivers who take advantage of the Polk Parkway detour should take note of the following:

  • Motorists should slow down when approaching the toll plaza, but should not stop.  Vehicles behind you will not be expecting you to stop.
  • Be prepared for delays or sudden, unexpected stops near the toll plazas; maintain proper spacing between vehicles.
  • All Polk Parkway entrance and exit ramps between mileposts 2 and 23 remain open during the detour.
  • The posted speed limit of 25 m.p.h. near the toll plazas will be strictly enforced.  Speeding fines double through the toll plazas when workers are present.
  • The northern/eastern seven miles of the Polk Parkway (between mileposts 18-25) is a two-lane roadway, featuring two-way traffic.
  • No passing is permitted between mileposts 18-25.
  • Motorists who have a SunPass or E-Pass in their vehicle will not be charged a toll.
  • Do not attempt to back up in a toll lane.
  • Stay in your lane when exiting the toll plaza.  Attempting to change lanes or jockey for position near the plaza will only result in additional delays and backups and could result in a crash.
  • Do not pull over and exit your vehicle near a toll plaza.  If your vehicle becomes disabled, pull over into the grass on the right side of the roadway, turn on your hazard lights and wait inside your vehicle for help to arrive.
  • Additional law enforcement personnel will be patrolling the Polk Parkway this weekend to ensure the safety of motorists.

I-4 reopens at Kathleen Road this weekend in Polk County

Part of I-4 was closed this weekend in Polk County so crews can repair CSX railroad tracks, but has since reopened.

CSX is making repairs at the I-4 Kathleen Road overpass in Lakeland. As a result, they closed the highway under the bridge for safety purposes.

The first closure started Saturday, March 29 at 6 a.m. and is scheduled to last until 8 p.m.  The westbound lanes of I-4 will be closed between U.S. 98 (Exit 32) and West Memorial Boulevard (Exit 28).

During that time, all westbound traffic is being diverted onto U.S. 98 and the local road network. Drivers are encouraged to use the Polk Parkway to reconnect with I-4 at the Hillsborough County line. The Polk Parkway tolls will be suspended at all mainline and ramp toll plazas serving westbound traffic while I-4 is closed.

The eastbound lanes of I-4 will be closed Sunday, March 30, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., between West Memorial Boulevard (Exit 28) and U.S. 98 Exit 32).

All traffic will be diverted onto West Memorial Boulevard.  Drivers heading east to Orlando are encouraged to use the Polk Parkway as a detour to reconnect with I-4 just west of State Road 559.  Tolls will be suspended for eastbound traffic on the Polk Parkway during this time.

Officials said drivers who take advantage of the Polk Parkway detour should take note of the following:

  • Motorists should slow down when approaching the toll plaza, but should not stop.  Vehicles behind you will not be expecting you to stop.
  • Be prepared for delays or sudden, unexpected stops near the toll plazas; maintain proper spacing between vehicles.
  • All Polk Parkway entrance and exit ramps between mileposts 2 and 23 remain open during the detour.
  • The posted speed limit of 25 m.p.h. near the toll plazas will be strictly enforced.  Speeding fines double through the toll plazas when workers are present.
  • The northern/eastern seven miles of the Polk Parkway (between mileposts 18-25) is a two-lane roadway, featuring two-way traffic.
  • No passing is permitted between mileposts 18-25.
  • Motorists who have a SunPass or E-Pass in their vehicle will not be charged a toll.
  • Do not attempt to back up in a toll lane.
  • Stay in your lane when exiting the toll plaza.  Attempting to change lanes or jockey for position near the plaza will only result in additional delays and backups and could result in a crash.
  • Do not pull over and exit your vehicle near a toll plaza.  If your vehicle becomes disabled, pull over into the grass on the right side of the roadway, turn on your hazard lights and wait inside your vehicle for help to arrive.
  • Additional law enforcement personnel will be patrolling the Polk Parkway this weekend to ensure the safety of motorists.

I-4 closed at Kathleen Road this weekend in Polk County

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I-4 closures planned this weekend in Polk County

Part of I-4 will be closed this weekend in Polk County so crews can repair CSX railroad tracks.

CSX is making repairs at the I-4 Kathleen Road overpass in Lakeland. As a result, they are closing the highway under the bridge for safety purposes.

The first closure will happen Saturday, March 29 from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.  The westbound lanes of I-4 will be closed between U.S. 98 (Exit 32) and West Memorial Boulevard (Exit 28).

During that time, all westbound traffic will be diverted onto U.S. 98 and the local road network. Drivers are encouraged to use the Polk Parkway to reconnect with I-4 at the Hillsborough County line. The Polk Parkway tolls will be suspended at all mainline and ramp toll plazas serving westbound traffic while I-4 is closed.

The eastbound lanes of I-4 will be closed Sunday, March 30, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., between West Memorial Boulevard (Exit 28) and U.S. 98 Exit 32).

All traffic will be diverted onto West Memorial Boulevard.  Drivers heading east to Orlando are encouraged to use the Polk Parkway as a detour to reconnect with I-4 just west of State Road 559.  Tolls will be suspended for eastbound traffic on the Polk Parkway during this time.

Officials said drivers who take advantage of the Polk Parkway detour should take note of the following:

  • Motorists should slow down when approaching the toll plaza, but should not stop.  Vehicles behind you will not be expecting you to stop.
  • Be prepared for delays or sudden, unexpected stops near the toll plazas; maintain proper spacing between vehicles.
  • All Polk Parkway entrance and exit ramps between mileposts 2 and 23 remain open during the detour.
  • The posted speed limit of 25 m.p.h. near the toll plazas will be strictly enforced.  Speeding fines double through the toll plazas when workers are present.
  • The northern/eastern seven miles of the Polk Parkway (between mileposts 18-25) is a two-lane roadway, featuring two-way traffic.
  • No passing is permitted between mileposts 18-25.
  • Motorists who have a SunPass or E-Pass in their vehicle will not be charged a toll.
  • Do not attempt to back up in a toll lane.
  • Stay in your lane when exiting the toll plaza.  Attempting to change lanes or jockey for position near the plaza will only result in additional delays and backups and could result in a crash.
  • Do not pull over and exit your vehicle near a toll plaza.  If your vehicle becomes disabled, pull over into the grass on the right side of the roadway, turn on your hazard lights and wait inside your vehicle for help to arrive.
  • Additional law enforcement personnel will be patrolling the Polk Parkway this weekend to ensure the safety of motorists.

Fantasy of Flight closing as daily attraction

POLK CITY — The Polk County aviation attraction whose iconic DC-3 aircraft has been a landmark for Interstate 4 motorists since 1998 — particularly when it was displayed nose-down as if it had crash-landed — will close to the pubic after April 6, but continue to stage private events.


Fantasy of Flight, which opened in 1995, is preparing to restore its business model not unlike the restoration of historic aircraft that will remain a part of its operation.


It will reopen to the public in late 2014 as a scaled down museum rather than an attraction open four days a week, with admissions prices reduced from the current $29.95 for adults and $15.95 for children, operations manager Kandice Stephens said. Extra cost features such as “wing walk” challenges and a zip line ride will be eliminated.


Then, owner Kermit Weeks will build on Fantasy of Flights’ weddings, business meetings and corporate events function to transform the business from a museum to an attraction whose appeal could stand alone to draw visitors to Central Florida, with Walt Disney World just 25 miles to the east.


“After 18 years of operation, it’s time we close the attraction and move forward toward creating the vision for what I know Fantasy of Flight can become,” Weeks told employees Tuesday, an unspecified number of whom will lose their jobs.


“We’re currently outside the center of mass tourism and not perceived of as a destination. We have a great product, but people have a misperception of what we offer.


“This isn’t the end of Fantasy of Flight. It’s just the next step on the company’s journey to become what it was always meant to be, a quality attraction.”


Weeks brought his collection of aircraft from South Florida to Central Florida after his museum in Miami suffered through Hurricane Andrew in 1992. The expansive Polk County site has two runways, 5,000 feet and 2,500 feet long.


Weeks last year was working to recreate the flight of the Benoist, the world’s first commercial airliner, following the same flight path over Tampa Bay taken by Tony Jannus on New Year’s Day 1914. Those plans were scrapped as Weeks was unable to get his replica to fly.


Weeks founded Fantasy of Flight from a trust fund inheritance, previous Tribune news accounts indicated, and did not make any money in the first 10 years of operation. Stephens said Fantasy of Flight does not reveal attendance figures.


Some visitors have confused Fantasy of Flight, which has as many as 140 vintage aircraft on display or in restoration, with the Florida Air Museum at Sun ‘n Fun at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, which hosts one of the nation’s largest annual air shows about 25 miles away.


“Kermit brought a lot of planes up here,” said Jim Agnew, a Tampa retiree who is a private pilot and longtime Sun ‘n Fun volunteer who knows Weeks. “As a attraction, he has a good place there to do it and he can trade planes in and out.”


Although the attraction never gained traction, Meeks clearly grabbed the attention of thousands of I-4 motorists over the years.


The DC-3’s nose-down display along with a dummy mascot dangling by a parachute named Gee Willie fooled enough people who would call in a 911 report of a crashed airplane that Meeks eventually restored the aircraft along the Interstate to its normal, parked position.


tjackovics@tampatrib.com


(813) 259-7817