Multidisciplinary engineering consultancy Stantec has been selected by the Florida Turnpike Enterprise (FTE) to design the reconstruction and capacity improvements for Florida’s Turnpike/State Road 91 in Lake County.
A division of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), the FTE operates a 461 miles (742km) long system of limited access toll highways across the state. With a construction cost of US$212m, the Turnpike improvement project is one of several occurring in Florida to improve mobility for an expanding population. Stantec’s design will increase the number of travel lanes from four to eight and will facilitate future Express Lane and electronic tolling operations within the 10 miles (16km) project area, from the Minneola interchange north to US 27. The project is part of FTE’s comprehensive phased plan to widen 37 miles (60km) of the Turnpike within Lake and Orange Counties to address traveler safety, mobility, travel time reliability and future demand for capacity in response to anticipated growth. According to state data, an average of 40,800 motorists use the Turnpike daily at the Leesburg South (US 27) Interchange. Adding to this demand are an anticipated 10,000 new homes planned within south Lake County and the surrounding area.
Variably priced Express Lanes are gaining in popularity across the USA as a solution to improving travel capacity and reliability. According to the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA), 11 states currently operate priced managed lanes across a total of 686 center lane miles (1,100km). As part of the project scope, Stantec will lead design of the Turnpike widening, pavement restoration through milling and resurfacing, implementation of all-electronic tolling (AET) capabilities, design of future dynamically priced Express Lanes, emergency shoulder utilization, surveying, lighting, and environmental services. Supported by the company’s national-reaching expertise in transportation, limited access toll facility design and traffic revenue services, a local team from Stantec’s Orlando office will lead the project with statewide support from teams in Deerfield, Coral Gables, Tallahassee, and West Palm Beach. Project design is anticipated for completion in January 2022.
Stantec has a long history of helping FDOT to deliver on its vision for improved transportation mobility across the state, with its teams working on the: US$140m I-95 Express Lanes project in Miami-Dade County, the Homestead Extension of Florida’s Turnpike, plus the 595 Express and Sawgrass Expressway in Broward County. Nationally, Stantec has played a key role in major managed lane projects, including leading the Illinois I-55 managed lane study and the traffic and revenue study for SR 91 Express Lanes in California’s Orange and Riverside Counties.
“Over the last five years, we have seen a steady increase in the implementation of priced managed lanes across the country with demonstrated success in maintaining speed conditions and managing greater traffic volumes,” said Steven Abendschein, senior principal and leader of Stantec’s traffic and revenue practice in New York. “There continues to be a tremendous opportunity for this tool in additional markets, particularly dense urban areas and growing mid-tier cities, to not only address roadway congestion, but also supplement infrastructure financing.”