Traffic is moving again on Interstate 4 in Central Florida after a 70-vehicle pileup damaged the road bed necessitating emergency repairs.

The Jan. 9 early morning accident occurred when fog rolled in and limited visibility. Oil spilled and ignited. The ensuing fire melted together a 650-ft-long section of the eastbound interstate in Polk County, between State Road 557 and State Road 559. Damage reached a depth of 2.25 inches.

Florida Dept. of Transportation obtained a declaration of emergency from Secretary Stephanie C. Kopelousos and solicited informal quotes from two companies: Lane Construction Corp. of Cheshire, Conn., which has several projects under way in nearby Orlando, and APAC Southeast in Winter Haven, Fla.

"The contractors we used are contractors we normally do business with and have a local presence with heavy equipment nearby," says Ed McKinney, procurement manager for FDOT. "They are contractors working in the area or that have an office or location in the vicinity of the emergency and can respond quickly."

FDOT then executed an estimated $300,000 emergency milling and resurfacing contract with APAC, the low bidder. The procurement met Federal Highway Administration procedures, says FDOT spokesperson Cindy Clemmons-Adente.

APAC began million at 11 p.m. on January 9, after authorities had cleared all of the wrecked vehicles. The original plan called for resurfacing to begin as soon as milling ended. However as milling concluded around 3 a.m., fog rolled, and work stopped.

"They couldn't move because of the thickness of the fog so, literally, they were stuck at the worksite," says Clemmons-Adente. "And we couldn't get the materials to them because of the fog. They started the operation back up at 9 a.m., once the fog burned off, and busted it out all day long."

Paving progressed throughout the day and the road opened at about 6:30 p.m. on January 10, after FDOT and Florida Highway Patrol officials completed a final assessment of the resurfacing.