Boulevard improvements benefit Florida beach communities

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), in conjunction with Pinellas County and the City of Indian Rocks Beach, entered into a joint project to provide safer passage for motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists in a three-mile section of Gulf Boulevard. The project includes roadway milling and resurfacing, a new storm drainage outfall system, reclaimed water lines, sanitary sewer facilities and potable water lines...

TAMPA, FL, Feb. 27, 2008 -- Gulf Boulevard (State Route 699) is an atypical roadway that spans the picturesque barrier islands of western Florida from Clearwater to St. Pete Beach. This state road is the main thoroughfare through two seaside towns known for wide sandy beaches, Indian Shores and Indian Rock Beach.

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), in conjunction with Pinellas County and the City of Indian Rocks Beach, entered into a joint project to provide safer passage for motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists in a three-mile section of Gulf Boulevard between the barrier island access bridges at Walsingham Road and Park Boulevard. Benefits also include an increase in reclaimed water pressure from a new 16-inch transmission main, which is the last segment to complete a loop through the county.

On October 22, 2007, PBS&J Constructors Inc. contracted with Pinellas County to manage the construction of the Gulf Boulevard Utilities and Roadway Improvements Project. The project includes roadway milling and resurfacing, a new storm drainage outfall system, reclaimed water lines, sanitary sewer facilities and potable water lines. A signalized intersection, with new sidewalks and bicycle paths will also be included in the project, along with improvements to the existing seawall. The $23.6-million project is expected to take 22 months with completion scheduled for August 2009.

"In keeping with Green building practices, we'll be using permeable asphaltic concrete on the bicycle and pedestrian paths. This process enables better filtration and removal of pollutants from stormwater runoff," said Dwayne Kile, FDOT District Seven, Design Engineer. "The porous texture of the material also enables better stormwater management by allowing runoff to drain through to subsurfaces where it is trapped and piped to stormwater drainage systems."

A Funding First
The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners, utilizing a Local Agency Program (LAP) Agreement with FDOT District Seven, and in cooperation with the Town of Indian Shores and the City of Indian Rocks Beach, selected PBS&J to serve as their Construction Manager at Risk (CM @ Risk) during the Gulf Boulevard reconstruction project.

Though the project includes multiple stakeholders, Pinellas County has taken the lead in overseeing the project financed partially through federal funding. "We believe this is one of the first federally funded roadway projects in the U.S. to apply the Construction Manager at Risk model," commented Kile.

As the CM @ Risk, PBS&J is responsible for the entire construction process, including selection of subcontractors, project schedule and safety. During the preconstruction phase, which began in February, 2005, PBS&J provided value engineering and constructability reviews of plans which resulted in re-sequencing the proposed traffic plan. "We were able to shave roughly 65 percent off the anticipated duration of construction, from 1,200 days to 660 days," said Ray Simpson, PBS&J Project Manager.

Public Awareness
To enable better control of the project and minimize disruption to the public, work will be done in 1,000-foot segments, with most of it occurring in the right-of-way. "That is especially challenging because there's a very limited 40-foot-wide right-of-way in which we must complete almost all of the proposed work, while, at the same time, maintaining safe and efficient traffic flow for both motorists and pedestrians," Simpson said.

Short sectional work is also a precaution in case of an emergency. "Gulf Boulevard serves as the primary north/south evacuation route for shore communities, so in the event of a hurricane we'll need to stop the job immediately and ensure road safety for motorists," Simpson added.

Because of the potential impact the construction project will have on local businesses and residents, PBS&J has launched a proactive public relations campaign that has already included several town meetings and speaking engagements to keep local residents up to date on developments and traffic delays. The public can also review the plans and see current project photos at PBS&J's field office located within the project area at 20001 Gulf Blvd., Indian Shores, FL.

"While there will be some one-way traffic areas and minor inconveniences, we will work with PBS&J to do everything we can to minimize construction impact on the community," said Mike Sweet, Pinellas County, Director of Engineering. Since the current potable water line will remain in place while the new one is installed, few disruptions to water service are expected. Pinellas County maintains a Web site, hotline and provides on-site inspectors to answer any citizen's questions.

PBS&J Constructors Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of The PBSJ Corporation, was established in 1997 to deliver at-risk construction management services to public and private clients with horizontal and vertical construction needs.

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