Beginning in the early 1970s, there have been various planning studies to extend the limited access roadways along the SW 10th Street corridor from Sawgrass Expressway and Florida’s Turnpike to I-95. The Sawgrass Expressway opened in 1988 but was three miles short of I-95, forcing vehicles destined for I-95 to utilize the local road networks, including SW 10th Street. Since the original studies, several unsuccessful attempts were made throughout the decades to make this three-mile connection. The major challenge was incorporating a high-speed, limited access facility through an existing local roadway corridor adjacent to residential neighborhoods.
Engagement and participation from the community was extremely important to keep this project on schedule. RS&H created a focused public engagement campaign which incorporated an open communication platform and participation from elected officials. A major factor in facilitating public acceptance was the use of innovative planning methods consisting of advanced 3D renderings and flythroughs that highlighted potential project aesthetics, such as landscaping, noise walls, and textured elements at the overpasses. These visualization techniques were instrumental in allowing the team to convey the proposed dual-use corridor: a four-lane, limited access expressway adjacent to a re-imagined “complete street” SW 10th Street, with noise walls, extensive landscaping, and a dedicated shared-use path connecting neighborhoods and commercial centers.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, RS&H was at the forefront in developing virtual public involvement strategies. Through a series of virtual informational meetings, public participation tripled compared to previous in-person meetings. The team worked to utilize public support through social media channels, yard signs in the surrounding neighborhoods, and interactive virtual environments.
We were able to provide the stakeholders with the necessary information regarding benefits and impacts to help support a preferred alternative that did not include a full depressed limited access facility or depressed egress ramp. The final preferred alternative also avoided negative impacts on surrounding businesses and residential neighborhoods in the area. The solution involved connecting existing limited access facilities from I-95 to the Sawgrass Expressway to improve local traffic and mobility. RS&H managed to save significant costs, minimize local traffic impacts, and support the community.
The PD&E study has not always received resounding support from the community or elected officials. We worked in partnership with the client to react quickly to concerns and reflect changes in the development of alternatives that helped enhance context-sensitive features such as landscape areas, buffer areas and pedestrian facilities while reducing business impacts, construction disruption, and right-of-way impacts.
The project team worked alongside stakeholders and actively listened to and acted upon their concerns and suggestions, holding over 200 stakeholder meetings and four large public meetings. Through listening to the community and working together, RS&H was able to develop connections to the general-purpose lanes of I-95 in the adjacent study section.
The project team was tasked with working on a unique and highly controversial project. The two roadways had vastly different needs and characteristics: one that would serve the purpose of connecting existing limited access facilities and another that would serve the local community.
The project study first began in July 2017 and went through some ups and downs in its progression but focused on the issues at hand that culminated through the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, when the team developed a public outreach plan that proved extremely effective and allowed FDOT to receive Location Design Concept Acceptance (LDCA) on June 21, 2021 – a total of just under four years. A testament to the approach and execution of the team as similar studies had not been successful over the last 40 years!
Expect an exceptional journey from start to future
Throughout the duration of the project planning process, our emphasis was on benefiting the surrounding communities impacted by the project. RS&H successfully worked alongside the community and elected officials to create both a regional high-speed connector road and a lower-speed local roadway, all within the same right-of-way corridor, that will provide individuals access to local businesses and residential neighborhoods. By connecting existing limited access facilities from the Sawgrass Expressway to I-95, it will improve local traffic and mobility for the region.
With original discussions and ideas spanning back decades ago, making this project finally come to fruition is a tremendous success for both the community of Deerfield Beach, FDOT, and RS&H.
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.