The Nelson Construction/RS&H team designed and is reconstructing two rest area sites located at the north and south ends of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. The scope of work includes the west side seawall cap repair and implementation of erosion protection measures, and east side seawall and grading improvements adjacent to the ITS maintenance building. In addition, the team will reconstruct two Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) standard “small” rest area facility buildings, each including a security office, vending areas, a maintenance office, 17 picnic pavilions (nine in Pinellas County and eight in Manatee County), and dog walk enhancements.
Prior to construction, FDOT was maintaining the two existing rest areas that were constructed at-grade and were vulnerable to storm surge. To exceed FEMA requirements, the new rest areas are being constructed above the FEMA velocity elevation of 16 feet. The new rest areas are on piles to reduce exposure to storm surge.
In addition to constructing the new rest area buildings, the project also included construction of approximately 1 mile of rip-rap protection and seawall cap and barrier wall replacement to provide increased resiliency for a causeway that is exposed to significant wave energy. Due to the extremely aggressive marine environment, the seawall cap and barrier wall replacement was reinforced with fiber reinforced polymer reinforcement. RS&H conducted extensive environmental surveys and relocated soft coral and sponge species to areas outside of the project limits to minimize impacts to the natural environment.