Orlando, Fla. — The Florida Institute of Consulting Engineers (FICE) and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) awarded their 2014 FICE/FDOT Outstanding Project Award (in the Major Project category) to the I-4/Selmon Expressway Connector project in Tampa, Fla. The award was jointly accepted by Atkins project director and associate vice president Joe Garrity, P.E., and FDOT District 7 consultant project manager Frank Chupka, P.E.
Every year, FICE and FDOT jointly recognize exceptional achievement in Florida transportation projects. The Outstanding Project Awards’ Major Project category includes conventional road and bridge projects as well as transit, airport, seaport, rail, and intermodal projects with a construction contract amount of $25 million or greater.
L. Joe Boyer, Atkins CEO, North America, said, “This was the largest construction contract that FDOT District 7 has advertised for bidding, and one of the largest projects ever designed in North America by Atkins. It was exciting to be a part of a project with so many unique design features, and this award recognition solidly confirms the hard work and dedication of everyone involved.”
The $425 million project was a collaborative effort between FDOT, Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise, and the Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority. Substantially completed in late 2013 and opened to the public in January 2014, the mile-long, 12-lane, tolled roadway provides a number of advantages to the Tampa Bay area and the local community, including:
- Serving as a time-saving roadway link between Interstate 4 and the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway (also known as State Route 618).
- Providing convenient, exclusive truck lanes for direct access to/from the Port of Tampa.
- Helping eliminate traffic congestion from adjacent Ybor City, one of only two National Historic Districts in Florida.
- Providing an additional hurricane evacuation route.
- Improving emergency access for first responders.
The Connector is a four-level, elevated, directional interchange made up of a complex network of 30 bridges. It features a self-contained, overhead, all-electronic toll collection system that can be maintained and repaired without disrupting traffic flow. The steel toll gantries are constructed of two Vierendeel-type trusses that each span 155 feet. Aesthetics also played a key role in the project, with designers making every effort to incorporate the style and character of historic Ybor City. One of the project’s notable features is a “gateway” that evokes the area’s unique, century-old Florida architecture.
Tom Barry, P.E., director of Atkins’ DOT business unit, said, “This is a project of tremendous importance to the Tampa area, and it’s wonderful to see it get the recognition it deserves. Ten Atkins offices worked together with 30 specialty subconsultants, investing more than 500,000 hours preparing the necessary plans, specifications, and estimates under an aggressive, 36-month design schedule.”
Atkins served as lead project engineer and as primary designer of the Connector’s southern portion, which comprised 80 percent of the overall project. Atkins provided a wide range of professional services, including roadway, bridge, and drainage design; surveying; architecture; landscape design; and more. The project was funded primarily by FDOT, Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise, and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. It was also partially funded by contractor PCL/Archer Western, by means of an innovative “design-bid-build-finance” approach.