The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) just opened part of the new State Road 52 in Pasco County, bringing relief to drivers in a fast-growing area near Tampa.
RK&K joined local and state officials for the recent ribbon-cutting and opening of a section that begins east of Interstate 75 and ends at U.S. 301 near Dade City. The new section widens SR 52 from two lanes to a divided four-lane highway and realigns the highway to give drivers a straight shot through the county. The innovative design also includes seven-foot bike lanes in each direction and leaves room for future widening to six lanes.
— Tim Wronka (@TimWronka) February 17, 2023
As the population boomed in that area north of Tampa, drivers would often get caught up in traffic bottlenecks on SR 52 as it meandered through communities. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county’s population has increased by 30% since 2010. The new section aims to alleviate those traffic issues.
The $82 million project was designed in-house by FDOT, and with significant staffing changes between the design phase and the start of construction, our CEI team worked to make sure there the project was delivered on time and on budget.
“Our CEI team had to collaborate closely with the contractor to avoid or mitigate design issues which could have been time-consuming and led to delays,” said Senior Project Engineer Josh Carter, PE.
Carter said significant Right-of-Way (R/W) was purchased for the new alignment and reconstruction project.
“There were many circumstances where our team had to work with the FDOT R/W Department and Pasco County Property Appraiser’s Office to sort through acquisition details that are not typically reflected in project plans. In addition, many properties were agricultural and contained livestock. Our team had to coordinate with property owners in advance of fence removal to protect livestock and the traveling public,” he added.
The eastern section of reconstruction was performed through an existing and old county road with significant residences and businesses.
“The existing roadway did not have the geometry to meet current FDOT standards and the existing as-builts were not very reliable. This required the team to be proactive to foresee potential issues with the Temporary Traffic Control, unforeseen conditions, and swift responses to concerns by adjacent property owners,” Carter said.
He said the unique surface clay of Central Florida meant the team had to incorporate unique solutions.
“The design included a project-specific detail for a Seepage Cutoff Trench (SCOT), to capture precipitation runoff seepage along ditch slopes to prevent future slope failures,” Carter noted. “In addition, clay cannot be within four feet of the road base, therefore, approximately 200,000 cubic yards of subsoil excavation was established to remove this surface clay beneath the roadbed.”
Carter said the contractor used Automated Machine Guidance (AMG) for their earthwork and concrete paving construction, while RK&K’s CEI group employed the use of a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) for quantity measurement and verification of the contractor’s construction.
He added while the project is not yet complete, opening the new alignment to traffic was the biggest milestone.
“The large turnout by FDOT, local officials, and politicians certainly reflected the importance of this new roadway to the region,” Carter said. “Our team is certainly proud of this great achievement!”
Officials anticipate the new section of SR 52 to be fully open later this year.