Mitigating major safety hazards to maintain safe passage on Santa Rosa Island
Santa Rosa Island, a 40 mile long environmentally sensitive barrier island in the Florida Panhandle, is home to crucial Eglin Air Force Base operations. Over several years, storms and three hurricanes had significantly damaged the base’s main road, presenting major safety hazards and an impediment to base operations.
As the only major route for automobile traffic on the island, closing the road was not an option. In fact, maintaining two way traffic flow and base access throughout the project was a must. Another imperative: avoiding impacts to environmentally sensitive wetland systems.
Our plan addressed these multiple concerns. Close coordination among the design-build partners was key to success. The solution included armoring the roadway with sheet pile walls, adding paved shoulders in critical areas and drainage upgrades. Value engineering approaches included replacing cable barrier with rumble strips and delineators to provide visual and audible warning systems to drivers; replacing virgin asphalt with recycled asphalt, reusing 25 percent of the material; and shepherding an expedited permitting process. Most importantly, the project was completed without disrupting critical missions.
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