The I-4 Ultimate Improvement Project, a roadway reconstruction project in Central Florida and one of the most complex and extensive infrastructure projects in the United States, received the Envision Platinum award from the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI). The I-4 Ultimate Project was recognized for its environmental, economic, and social sustainability efforts along the 21-mile reconstruction project.
The I-4 Ultimate is the first project in Florida to receive recognition from ISI’s Envision sustainable infrastructure rating system and stands to be one of the largest Envision-verified projects.
“This P3 project demonstrates that sustainability goals are achievable in infrastructure work of this magnitude,” said Loreen Bobo, P.E., I-4 Ultimate construction program manager for the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). “We are achieving the primary vision of our agency while at the same time enhancing the economic prosperity and preserving the quality of our environment and communities. This is a project that is bringing 21st century solutions to our transportation and infrastructure challenges in Central Florida.”
The Envision Award was formally presented to the I-4 Mobility Partners (I-4MP) team at a ceremony on July 20 in Orlando, Fla. The I-4 Ultimate Project is a public-private partnership (P3) between FDOT and I-4MP. The members of the I-4MP team include:
- Skanska Infrastructure Development (equity member);
- John Laing Investments Limited (equity member);
- SGL Constructors (SGL) Construction Joint Venture — Skanska (lead joint venture partner), Granite Construction Company, and the Lane Construction Corporation;
- HDR and Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc. (design joint venture); and
- Infrastructure Corporation of America (lead operations and maintenance firm).
“This award represents our commitment to achieving the highest standards for sustainable infrastructure under the Envision guidelines,” said Magnus Eriksson, executive vice president for Skanska USA’s infrastructure development operations. “Our goal is to deliver one of the country’s most complex roadway projects, while reaching a state-of-the-art level of sustainable infrastructure performance. This prestigious recognition showcases how a public-private partnership project can serve as a role model for other infrastructure projects.”
Created in 2012 through collaboration between ISI and the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure at Harvard University Graduate School of Design, the Envision system rates the impact of sustainable infrastructure projects as a whole. The system measures sustainability in five categories: Quality of Life, Leadership, Natural World, Resource Allocation, and Climate and Risk. These key areas contribute to the positive social, economic, and environmental impacts on a community.
The I-4 Ultimate Project involves reconstruction of 21 miles of roadway infrastructure from west of Kirkman Road in Orange County through downtown Orlando, extending to the east of State Road 434 in Seminole County. The project is expected to transform the region by better connecting communities, improving the local economy, and enhancing livability for residents.
One of the most important benefits will be the improvement of traffic flow by easing congestion with the addition of four new variable-toll express lanes and reconstruction of 15 major interchanges, which includes widening 13 bridges, replacing 74 bridges, and adding 53 new bridges, along with a pedestrian overpass on Kirkman Road and a signature pedestrian bridge at the Maitland interchange. When complete, the project will provide a visually appealing signature corridor with bold landscaping, accent lighting, enhanced bridge architecture, and other aesthetic features.
“Designing sustainable infrastructure is not achieved by accident. It cannot be an afterthought, especially on a project as complex and far-reaching as I-4 Ultimate,” said Charles O’Reilly, HDR transportation group president. “Florida DOT’s commitment to sustainably connected communities, improved economies, and enhanced livability has been there since the beginning. This Envision Platinum rating is the result.”
The I-4 Ultimate Improvement Project earned high scores in the Quality of Life, Leadership, and Natural World categories for its ongoing programs to minimize environmental impacts, including relocating protected wildlife, using efficient machinery, controlling stormwater runoff, planting non-invasive vegetation, and recycling 99 percent of the concrete and steel removed from roads and bridges. The project also facilitates the use of alternative transportation by integrating rail projects and improving pedestrian crossings and connections with bike trails.
Key accomplishments include:
Quality of Life — The I-4 Ultimate is designed to add public gathering spaces in a way that significantly enhances community livability. The goal of I-4 Ultimate is to create a signature corridor that connects communities divided by the original I-4 project, improves economies, and enhances livability throughout the region, and is designed to reflect the best of Central Florida’s local context, history, unique community character, and landscaping.
Although primarily a highway project, the I-4 Ultimate encourages alternative modes of transportation. The project is designed to enhance public transportation facilities and to implement programs to encourage the use of public transportation, as well as non-motorized transportation. It will also rehabilitate pathways, bikeways, trails, and pedestrian bridges, and will integrate well with local transit, such as the SunRail commuter rail system and LYNX, Orlando’s local bus service. A $750,000 fund is being established to promote alternative modes of transportation during construction.
The project team has further demonstrated its commitment to connecting communities and providing for safe, non-vehicular traffic by including an Alternative Technical Concept (ATC) to build an extra pedestrian overpass bridge over Kirkman Road at the major intersection entrance to Universal Studios.
Leadership — Sustainability is an important factor to FDOT and is a core value of the consortium of partners who are working collaboratively to design and deliver this project, including HDR and SGL Constructors, as well as Skanska, the lead contractor. A sustainability agenda created early in the process provided the foundation on which the project is being built to meet FDOT’s sustainability goals. This sustainability agenda includes social priorities such as health and safety, community involvement, and business ethics; environmental priorities, including energy, carbon, materials, water, and local impacts; and economic priorities such as project selection criteria, supply chain management, and value added to society.
The project management plan developed to guide design, construction, financing, maintenance, and operation of the I-4 Ultimate led to effective coordination and collaboration between the owner and project team, which will help to spur innovation, mitigate risk, enhance teamwork, and promote open communications throughout the life of the project.
Natural World — The project team developed a comprehensive Contamination Management Plan and Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Plan to prevent pollutants from the project from contaminating soils, surface water, and groundwater. The project team is also remediating areas of contamination within the project’s right-of-way to prevent future contamination. Four underground storage tanks and 145 tons of petroleum-impacted soils and debris have been removed from the project site.
The project team is committed to controlling invasive species by removing existing invasive species along the project’s right-of-way and selecting locally appropriate, non-invasive plants for landscaping along the project corridor. The project team is also committed to maintaining wetland and surface water functions by enhancing hydrologic connections and water quality, improving riparian habitats, and maintaining sediment transport.
Learn more about the I-4 Ultimate Improvement Project at http://i4ultimate.com.
Information provided by the Florida Department of Transportation (www.dot.state.fl.us), HDR (www.hdrinc.com), Skanska (www.skanska.com), and the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (www.sustainableinfrastructure.org).