Created: | Author: Orlando Memory | Location: Central Florida, Orlando, Florida | Memory Date: October 13, 2006
ABOVE: The official dedication of Interstate 4 through Orlando is held for the roadway that will move Florida forward. (Frank Russell, Orlando Sentinel, March 10, 1965)
While working as a traveling salesman after graduating with my degree in Journalism, go figure, I made many lengthy trips on I-4. Back and forth from my office on Vineland Road to my territory on the east coast. I had sat in traffic when they closed sections of I-4 for the president’s arrival, through 10 and 12 car pileups, but never had I sat in traffic like I did on October 13, 2006.
After a successful sales trip to Daytona, I was riding the wave of lowly compensation all the way back to my office an hour and fifteen minutes away. I returned victorious, making multiple victory laps around the plastic cells, cubicles, where my coworkers resided. The Karate Kid theme song blared from my boss’ boombox, yes he had a boombox, as I prepared to head home an hour early as part of my lowly compensation. Little did I know, the hour I had been granted was far less time than I would need to make it home at a normal hour.
I hopped in my whip and drove off into the sunset. At that point in the evening on a Friday, I expected traffic jams to conveniently stretch from downtown to about a mile before my exit. While driving up a ramp and nodding politely at a car attempting to merge, I noticed a small plane violently touching down on the eastbound side of I-4. The plane landed and drove on for a half mile or so before reaching the outskirts of that days congestion.
For the first couple hours I began to feel a bit like Odysseus from Homer’s Odyssey. Dodging police “sirens” and cycloptic semis in the hopes that I might someday see home again. That night, I spent three hours trying to get home, all because some politician with boatloads of money was attempting to bypass the very traffic which he would later cause. Seeing a plane land on the highway “tarmac” was by far the weirdest memory I have of I-4.
ABOVE: Michael Heffinger, FDOT Roadway Engineer, touches the propeller of a Cessna Skyhawk that landed on I-4 near the John Young Parkway intersection, on Friday, October 13, 2006. The plane was piloted by reform party gubernatorial candidate Max Linn. He developed engine trouble about 1:35 p.m. and landed in the eastbound lanes of the interstate between John Young Parkway and South Orange Blossom Trail — five miles south of the airport – backing up traffic for miles. (Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda, Orlando Sentinel / October 13, 2006)
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