CHICAGO /PRNewswire/ — H.W. Lochner, Inc. (Lochner), a leading provider of infrastructure planning and engineering services, has been selected by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to conduct a Project Development & Environment (PD&E) study of transportation challenges at the SR 714/Monterey Road intersection with the Florida East Coast (FEC) Railroad Crossing.

SR 714 is an essential hurricane evacuation route, stretching from Kanner Highway to east of SE Dixie Highway and encompassing Martin County’s Witham Field Airport. It also includes five signalized intersections along SR 714 at Kanner Highway, Willoughby Boulevard, Monterey Extension Road, US 1, and Dixie Highway. The study aims to alleviate congestion while minimizing potential impacts on the environment and the community.

“Lochner is committed to enhancing safety along the State’s corridors in alignment with FDOT’s Target Zero initiative to improve how Florida connects, interacts, plans, designs, operates, and maintains its transportation system,” said Lochner’s Regional Manager and Vice President Don Skelton, PE. “We look forward to collaborating with FDOT and local stakeholders to develop safe and effective solutions for this critical multimodal intersection and railroad crossing.”

Currently, the crossing accommodates approximately 25 daily trains, with an additional 15 expected from the new inter-city Brightline rail route connecting Miami and West Palm Beach. The train volume significantly contributes to traffic congestion and poses safety concerns for travelers. Furthermore, the proximity of SR 714/Dixie Highway and SR 714/US 1 intersections compound the issue.

Under the contract, Lochner will develop study alternatives aimed at improving traffic flow, supporting transportation needs, enhancing multimodal connectivity, and reducing emergency evacuation and response times while adhering to the Target Zero safety initiative. Lochner will also strategize to minimize adverse effects on the natural, social, cultural, and physical environments. The study is expected to result in a Type II Categorical Exclusion classification. Given the project’s coastal location and its role as a hurricane evacuation route, resilience will be a critical consideration.