Innovative Transportation Solutions Award, WTS Central Florida Chapter, 2019
RS&H provided design services for the Florida Turnpike Enterprise’s (FTE) All-Electronic Toll (AET) Phase 8 Ticket System, converting 148 miles of the turnpike mainline to cashless toll collection. The design spans the turnpike mainline from the Lantana mainline toll plaza located in Palm Beach County to the Three Lakes mainline toll plaza in Osceola County. The project included demolition of two mainline plazas and 17 ramp plazas, as well as the design of 12 new mainline toll sites. One of the most critical elements of this unique project is the removal of cash collection and replacement with AET because the entire 148 miles operates as a closed toll collection system. RS&H prepared a technical memorandum to provide a detailed outline of the recommended method of implementation.
Throughout the majority of the 148-mile project corridor the existing mainline consists of two-lanes in each direction of travel. However, there are numerous planned widenings and interchange improvements in various stages of design and planning. Each of the 12 proposed toll sites was designed to accommodate both current and future lane configurations. Not only were the roadway elements designed accounting for future widenings, but the gantries were also designed to accommodate multiple equipment layouts, as well as multiple toll equipment providers.
Demolition of each of the existing plazas involved site-specific analysis and design. Originally designed with stop conditions at the plazas, the ramps needed to be redesigned to accommodate free-flow traffic with design speeds up to 50 mph in some cases. The mainline plazas each include existing tunnels that needed to be addressed with demolition. Detailed, innovative traffic control plans were also necessary for phased demolition of the existing plazas which included concrete slab removal, canopy demolition, paving, etc. RS&H provided site-specific, cost-effective means to harmonize the proposed work with the existing ramps and mainline after plaza removal.
The project also included access adjustments and improvements to four park and ride lots, the design of two new emergency access roads from Friar’s Cove Road to the turnpike mainline just north of the existing Three Lakes mainline plaza, and a power infrastructure upgrade through the rural section of the turnpike. The overall AET conversion scope included demolition, grading, paving, temporary traffic control, signing and pavement markings, lighting modifications, drainage modifications, ITS preservation, toll plaza fiber optic connections, traffic signal modification, permitting, and architectural design (including structural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing).
During the pursuit of this project, RS&H organized and assembled our team with the tight schedule at the forefront of our minds, knowing that was a critical issue for the client. We provided FTE with two complete teams of designers (two geotechs, two surveyors, two complete teams of toll facility engineers and architects, etc.) with dedicated staff due to the magnitude of work to be accomplished in only 16 months. Our project management plan detailed clear lines of communication and roles and responsibilities for each design lead which was vital in streamlining coordination efforts amongst our team and with our client. The PM proactively communicated all deliverable deadlines to the team, held regular team meetings, and provided regular updates to the client. The end result was a comprehensive set of contract bid documents delivered to the client for an on-time letting.
The project team provided an unmatched level of commitment, expertise, and experience crucial to the execution of this unique project in a condensed nine-month timeline. The entire team worked tirelessly to deliver this unique project and restore a vital transportation network to the city.
The Lesner Bridge is arguably Virginia Beach's signature bridge and boasts an average annual daily traffic (AADT) count of over 20,000 vehicles. The City of Virginia Beach set a goal to produce a bridge with a 100-year lifespan that incorporated new aesthetics and safety measures.