Widening a major bridge crossing while preventing environmental encroachment in Florida
Over the last 40 years, population growth meant additional traffic along I-75 in Lee County—one of Florida’s main north-south thoroughfares. To address the traffic increase, the Florida Department of Transportation is widening 33 miles of I-75 from four to eight lanes. The goal? Enhance mobility for people, commerce, and industry.
Of the eight bridges impacted by this expansion, our team tackled the 0.75-mile main bridge directly over the Caloosahatchee River. The river is an environmentally sensitive area and is home to over 25 different animal species (including protected manatees and smalltooth sawfish).
To prevent environmental encroachments, our team used accelerated bridge techniques, like prestressed/precast components for the piling, beam, and pile caps, and a “top down” construction method. This combined temporary trestle construction and two straddle cranes so prefabricated bridge sections could be constructed near the riverbank.
The cranes were GPS-controlled and mounted to the existing structure, which minimized traffic disruptions and increased safety. These design and construction techniques allowed us to deliver a safe project that was $8 million under budget and more than five months ahead of schedule.
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