RS&H has set the bar in designing Florida’s first ultra-modern, “green” rest areas located along I-75 in Pasco County, Florida. Striving to achieve the Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) first LEED® Silver certified project, we exceeded expectations by attaining Gold. The project, which features light sensors, waterless toilets, and many other earth-friendly elements, will serve as a prototype for future rest areas throughout the state.
Rather than renovate the existing rest areas, which lacked adequate parking and presented safety concerns, FDOT opted to construct completely new facilities, providing a blank canvas for incorporating “green” design principles. Using the LEED checklist as a guideline, we developed several sustainable design elements for the project, including the recycling of existing asphalt, use of waterless toilets, native and drought-tolerant plants, low-volume irrigation, and parking for fuel-efficient vehicles.
The project is also the first in the state to use continuously reinforced concrete pavement. The new technology uses reinforcing steels bars within the concrete, which reduces long-term maintenance costs of the facility. The concrete pavement is also more reflective, reducing the heat island effect of the rest areas.
Throughout the design process, RS&H used onsite illustrations and signs to inform the traveling public on ways FDOT is applying sustainable design principles to its projects. We also worked to ensure that the northbound rest area access ramps are compatible with future I-75 widening efforts by closely coordinating with teams from four other adjacent construction projects.