An intersection east of Naples, Fla., is at the beginning stages of an overhaul under the direction of Collier County. The overall project is valued at $20.7 million.
The contract is for work at the intersection of CR 951 and U.S. 41, and includes a 3R project involving widening, milling and resurfacing and signals. The project also involves some Florida Department of Transportation (DOT) funding, but is being administered by Collier County, with Atkins Global acting as the CE & I on the project.
Intersection improvements include expanding about a quarter mi. of roadway in each direction to improve safety by better aligning lanes in each direction. Additional lanes will be added, resulting in three left-turn lanes for northbound and southbound traffic and two right-turn lanes for eastbound and westbound traffic. The additional turn lanes will be constructed to align with the extra lanes the state is adding. Other aspects include updating traffic signals and improving bicycle and pedestrian lanes.
“This project is part of Collier County’s long term planning, and we are realigning and rebuilding this intersection,” said Bob Reaburn, general project superintendent of Community Asphalt. “In addition to this intersection itself, we have a different project that continues further south. That project is about 2-1/2 to 3 miles of resurfacing only, and shoulder widening. The intersection itself is just about a complete reconstruction. It has a very extensive amount of utility relocation and removal. As part of this, it is going to be broken into six different phases. There will be phases outside of the road and into the center of the road, and it will bounce back and forth as the new utilities are installed, and old utilities are removed. This is also being done in preparation of a flyover to be placed at this intersection, possibly in 10 years. So this is part of the long-term planning.”
Reaburn said that Community Asphalt is currently working on phase 2, which consists of the installation of new utilities, placement of embankment, new additional turn lane medians and storm drains. It also includes the demolition of an existing gas station. All of the concrete from the demolition will be crushed on site and either used on this project or hauled off to be utilized in another area. This portion of the job is being done by subcontractor EHC Inc. of Napes.
“In the south and northbound lanes, we already shifted traffic during phase 1, which lets us work on the outside area,” Reaburn said. “In the second phase, we are doing some more outside areas further south of the intersection. When we go into phase 3, then we will be placing storm drain down the center of the road, and the cars will be moved on the outside. The same thing will be done over here on U.S. 41.”
Reaburn noted that their portion of the project ends about 1,000 ft. (304.8 m) past the intersection.
“This butts up against another project being done by Ajax, which is six laning and four laning — in preparation,” Reaburn said. “This is a very, very fast growing area of Collier County, and this is in anticipation of the long term population growth in this area.”
This phase of the project is currently in its second month, and has a total timeline of 22 months. Completion is set for October 2015.
Reaburn said he believes the utility relocation and installation of the new storm drainage systems will be the most difficult aspect of the project.
“This is due to the fact that there are going to be existing utilities that are being moved, such as telephone communication and gas lines, and there will be conflicts with them due to the fact of deadlines,” Reaburn said. “It’s not just us that are relocating the utilities. We have Century Link, Teco Gas, Comcast, Qwest and there are several others. All of them are being relocated and rerouted around this area. The road construction aspect of it is the easy part. It’s what’s under the road is what makes things complicated, and there literally are a lot of water lines, sewer lines and storm drain — a lot of removal of the existing lines, but we must maintain service at all times, and the traffic.”
When complete, 951 will include six lanes throughout the area, with an additional turning lane heading south onto westbound 41, separated by a large median.
“If you look at the aerial photographs, you will see that the intersection is now sitting probably at about a 35-degree angle,” Reaburn said. “When it’s done, we’re realigning a little bit — we’re going to try to straighten that out.”
Other subcontractors for the project include Highway Safety Devices for lighting, signs and signalization; and Haskins Inc. of Bonita Springs is facilitating and completing all the installation and removal.
“Our biggest and most important goal here is to complete this project on time within the budget, and our most important factor is the safety and the well being of the automobile driving public,” Reaburn said. “We have to maintain it. This job will be built entirely under traffic, which increases its risk, and it’s what makes it complicated.”
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