As part of the Better Jacksonville Plan, the City of Jacksonville hired Ayres to provide engineering services for major reconstruction of 2 miles of Collins Road from Blanding Boulevard to Rampart Road. The project involved providing the study, design, and construction plans to expand the roadway from a two-lane rural section to a four-lane, median-divided urban section.
The project received the 2010 American Public Works Association Northeast Florida Chapter Project of the Year Award.
Ayres designed a new I-295/Collins Road interchange structure, integrating it into the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District 2’s planned I-295 adjacent collector-distributor roadway network system improvements. This required thorough coordination of Ayres’ tasks with FDOT’s work elements for design of the interchange ramps and bridge structure, along with right-of-way acquisition considerations for the interchange and connection to FDOT’s I-295 facility improvements, thus saving the City and FDOT money in potential future bridge structure upgrades or modifications.
Also involved were intersection/signalization improvements at Blanding Boulevard and Collins Road, drainage collection/conveyance systems, a regional stormwater treatment facility, maintenance of traffic plans, signing and pavement markings, utility coordination/adjustments, lighting, signalization, landscaping, right-of-way mapping, extensive permitting work, shop drawing review, and addressing contractor questions during construction.
A separate contract with the Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA) to perform utility adjustments and upgrades based on the roadway improvements was part of this project. Utility adjustments within the corridor included a new 16-inch water main, relocating a 12-inch water main, relocating a 20-inch force main, and relocating the electric power distribution and transmission systems. Existing water/sewer pipe removal and/or abandonment was included. Other modifications were provided for 4- through 10-inch water/sewer systems, along with residential/business service connection adjustments.
Permits were secured from the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), FDOT, JEA, and the City. Stormwater management for a portion of this project was provided for in a regional stormwater facility that required an individual Environmental Resource Permit (ERP) through the SJRWMD. A stormwater management facility was designed and permitted through the individual ERP for the remaining portion.
This project was designed and constructed in two phases. Phase 1 was for improvements on the eastern end of the project, and Phase 2 was for improvements on the western end. Phase 2, which included the interchange work, was more complex due to maintenance of traffic plans and extensive coordination.
The project involved a number of innovative design aspects, including the use of a regional stormwater treatment facility for a portion of the project to save on pond construction and parcel acquisition. Ayres helped the City obtain Local Agency Program funding to include improvements to Blanding Boulevard as part of this project.