Construction of the I-4 Ultimate project will include as many as seven toll plazas.
Construction of the I-4 Ultimate project will include as many as seven toll plazas. (George Skene / Orlando Sentinel)

Drivers wanting to skirt traffic snarls on the I-4 Ultimate will find themselves paying as much as $13.30 a day in tolls under a proposed fee structure developed by the Florida Department of Transportation.

The toll prices, which are in 2010 dollars, have not been adopted but are serving as yardsticks as the six-year construction project begins. The figures provide a sense of just how costly it could be to choose toll lanes that are meant to help traffic move more smoothly on a run that is used by most commuters five days a week.

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It has yet to be determined if hearings will be held to consider adopting the tolls, Florida DOT spokesman Steve Olson said.

The highest costing daily commute--$13.30--would involve using toll lanes during peak hours from east of State Road 434 to South Street in downtown Orlando. Morning tolls would cost $7.70 and the return trip in the evening would be approximately $5.60.

Conversely, a commute from west of Kirkman Road to South Street in the morning would cost about $4.60 and the return trip in the evening would be approximately $4.30, for a total round trip cost of $8.90 to travel 17.2 miles.

Revenue from the tolls will be used to help fund construction and maintenance of the I-4 Ultimate.

The $2.3 billion I-4 Ultimate project will run from Kirkman Road in the south to State Road 434 in the north. Over that 21 miles as many as seven toll plazas will be placed. Drivers will have the option of staying in non-toll lanes, mixing their rides with toll and non toll lanes, or choosing toll lanes for their entire run.

The tolls rates, based on the lanes opening in 2020, would be staggered, with the highest fees charged during AM peak traffic, followed by PM peak, then midday and finally nighttime.

During the peak morning commute, westbound traffic has the highest rate at 67 cents per mile for the full-length of the corridor. The evening commute period has an average rate per mile of 47 cents for drivers heading east.

Midday toll rates are mixed according to location, with the average rates per mile for the eastbound and westbound directions ranging from 23 cents to 31 cents.

The toll lanes would offer SunPass and other electronic billing services to keep drivers moving as quickly as possible.

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