Trip Report: Why Do All Orlando Roads Begin With The Number 4?

Someone recently asked me why all the roads around Orlando begin with the number 4. There's I-4, US 441 and State Roads like 408, 417, 429, 436.....and many more.

The answer is that they don't really all begin with the number 4. First of all, I-4 is part of the Interstate system and as an east-west road located deep in the south, it has a low even number. Until I-2 was created in Texas a few years ago, it was the lowest numbered single-digit Interstate highway in the country. So it's just a coincidence that it begins with 4. A coincidence also exists for US 441, which is an offshoot road of US 41 which runs down the west coast of the state. Other Orlando area U.S. highways like US17, US92, US192 don't begin with a 4.

That brings us to the State Roads. Yes, many do indeed begin with the number 4 as seen on the photo above. Why? Because in Florida's numbering system, nearly all state roads between SR40 and SR50 begin with a 4, while those between SR50 and SR60 begin with a 5. SR50 runs through the middle of Orlando as Colonial Drive and state roads north of that begin with a 4, even if they drop south of Colonial Drive. SR436 is a great example. It starts in Apopka north of Colonial so it begins with a 4. It passes through Altamonte Springs, Casselberry and then heads south to the airport. Since it begins in the "4" area, it retains its number. Roads that begin south of Colonial Drive begin with a 5, such as SR527, SR528, SR535 and SR536. Melbourne/Cocoa area state roads begin with a 5 because they are south of 50 but north of 60. The Tampa area, which is further south than Orlando, has a lot of roads that begin with 5 but south of SR60, they begin with 6. As you get into South Florida, state roads begin with 7, 8 & 9 depending on where they are in relation to SR70, SR80 & SR90. There are a lot of exceptions though so this system isn't perfect.

So that's the story. We really do have a lot of "4" roads around Orlando but also a lot of "5" roads. I-4 and US 441 are just coincidences while there is a method to the madness for the rest of them. Now you know.

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