800 heavy machines and trucks worth $80 million will perform I-4 Ultimate work in Florida

Updated Jun 19, 2015

The I- 4 Ultimate project is the largest public-works project in the history of Central Florida, so it’s no big surprise that a massive fleet of heavy equipment would be employed.

But the combined total of 800 pickup trucks, cranes, front-end loaders, bulldozers, rollers, excavators and countless other heavy machines was enough to warrant the Orlando Sentinel to dub it an equipment “armada.” The total cost for so many construction equipment cost contractor SGL $80 million.

But that’s just a fraction of the cost for the work being done on Interstate 4 through Orlando, which began the initial service patrols in February before construction began in earnest.

The whole thing is going to cost $2.4 billion, as the crews work to rebuild 21 miles of I-4, add tolled express lanes down the middle of the interstate, restructure 15 major interchanges and replace 140 bridges. The “I-4 Ultimate” name derived from the fact that the state officials say this will be final improvements that will ever be made to the interstate. You can view renderings of the project in the gallery at the bottom of this post.

“The entire project has all types of complicated things,” safety manager for SGL Bill Reed said.

Seven of the 30 cranes that will be in the equipment armada are already on site this week pounding into the ground some of the steel girders, as seen in the video below.

All in all, the fleet will be made up of more than 250 pickup trucks, 40 front-end loaders, 30 bull dozers, 30 rollers, 30 excavators and 30 large cranes—nine of which were shipped from Germany and one had to be driven into Orlando on 10 flatbed trucks.

The full fleet of equipment won’t be employed for around 18 months, and SGL project manager Phil Picone said that with a such a large and diverse group of machines, it’ll make for some challenging obstacles.

“Everything is going to break down sooner or later,” he said.

SGL and other subcontractors own the majority of the vehicles, and many of them will be sold after I-4 Ultimate is done in 2021.