TALLAHASSEE, Fla — To cap off 2022, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has put together a list of its accomplishments over the past year.
They include highway improvements, disaster response, as well as initiatives to make highways safer.
“Having been at FDOT for my entire career, I am honored and humbled to have the opportunity to serve my fellow Floridians by leading this agency,” said Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Jared W. Perdue, P.E. “Florida has a diverse transportation system, so it’s important that we continue to balance the needs of our communities with safety and environmental considerations, while also providing an advanced and resilient transportation infrastructure. From safe mobility options for Floridians and visitors, to facilitating an effective supply chain, a reliable and robust transportation system truly impacts all of us on a daily basis.”
The signing of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Freedom First Budget in June made record investments in Florida’s transportation infrastructure, according to a news release.
“The historic $12.6 billion in funding for statewide transportation projects for FDOT’s current five-year work plan reaffirmed Florida as an innovative leader in transportation,” state leaders noted.
Strategic investments were emphasized, including $4.4 billion for highway construction to include 180 new lane miles, $1.2 billion in resurfacing to include 2,690 lane miles, $236.6 million for bridge maintenance repairs and replacements, $135.9 million in seaport infrastructure enhancements, $314.5 million for aviation improvements, $867 million for rail and transit program advancements and $160.1 million for safety initiatives.
“FDOT solidified its commitment to Florida communities with its immediate response and recovery efforts to the devastation caused by Hurricane Ian, which struck Florida in September,” the news release stated.
Pine Island and Sanibel Island sustained substantial damage to their bridges and roads, preventing drivable access to and from these barrier islands, and FDOT stepped in to assist with the recovery and access efforts.
“With hundreds of loads of sand and rock as well as heavy equipment, FDOT crews worked alongside partners day and night to literally pave the way to reconnect the Pine Island to the mainland,” according to the news release. “These efforts quickly restored access to the stranded communities, with temporary bridge repairs being completed in less than three days.”
FDOT also provided vital supplies to families on Pine Island as they recovered.
Two large FDOT trucks packed with supplies were among the first vehicles across the restored bridge, and department teams provided and distributed over 250 coolers, 16,000 pounds of ice and almost 22,000 bottles of water to this hard-hit community.
MAJOR PROJECTS UPDATE
The SunPass Savings Program, a discount initiative aimed at customers who use Floriday’s Turnpike System and toll facilities owned by FDOT, was launched in September.
“This incentive program provided financial relief to SunPass commuters by providing credits to customers who met the threshold of qualifying transponder transactions per month,” according to the news release. “As Governor DeSantis promised to continue seeking out ways to provide cost of living relief for Florida’s families, he signed the Toll Relief Program bill in December to further benefit Floridians who frequently commute on these roadways. The program will be active throughout 2023 and is slated to benefit approximately 1.2 million Floridians with average savings of nearly $400 per commuter in the calendar year.”
New highway designs were introduced, such as diverging diamond interchanges — a unique design wherein the two directions of traffic briefly drive on the opposite sides of the road.
The design “results in increased safety, enhanced efficacy of moving higher volume of traffic and reduced congestion,” according to the news release.
Other projects included introduction of ramp signals on key interchanges, establishing new managed lanes, implementation of new connector ramps and completion of many resurfacing projects.
FDOT teams continued to test new materials, high-tech resources and design elements throughout the year, as well as introducing many of these in current projects.
The Interstate 4 Ultimate Project, Florida’s largest transportation project to date, reached substantial completion in 2022 by introducing 53 new bridges, replacing 74 bridges and widening 13 bridges on a 21-mile stretch of I-4, with 15 major interchanges undergoing complete reconstruction and four express lanes opened to provide a new choice to drivers.
Also in Central Florida, Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise opened the Suncoast Parkway Extension connecting Citrus County with the Tampa Bay area, completed with 15 bridges, five wildlife corridors, a new pedestrian bridge and expansion of the Suncoast Trail. A more-than 2.5-mile section of a four-lane divided arterial road on State Road 60 originally constructed in 1960 resulted in FDOT’s 12th Perpetual Pavement Award: By Performance from the Asphalt Pavement Alliance.
In response to severe national supply chain concerns in March of 2022, DeSantis announced the first U.S. East Coast container service, with Florida’s JAXPORT connecting to four locations in Asia.
“Under DeSantis’ leadership, Florida has invested nearly $1 billion in seaports to ensure maximum capacity and continued growth in cargo,” the news release stated.
Over the year, Port Miami recorded the busiest cargo year in its history; Port Tampa container tonnage increased, with huge growth in building material specifically; and Port Manatee saw increases in short tons and expanded their cargo yards.
“From agriculture to appliances to a favorite afternoon snack, moving freight and the resilience of the supply chain have an immeasurable impact on our lives and Florida’s economy,” according to the news release.
Florida accounts for more than 33% of total U.S. trade with Latin America and the Caribbean and boasts $55.5 billion in state-origin exports.
FDOT’s Freight and Rail Office enhances Florida’s economy and communities by assisting with the development of Florida’s passenger and freight rail system and supporting Florida’s multimodal freight programs. With a valuable network of partners,
FDOT worked to promote safety on Florida’s roadways by introducing campaigns focused on zero fatalities from vehicle accidents.
“No number of fatalities on Florida’s roadways is acceptable, and FDOT continues initiatives to call attention to and correct contributing behaviors,” according to the news release. “With 97% of roadway crashes having human error listed as a contributing factor, FDOT’s efforts are focused on awareness and acknowledgement that efforts at both the state and community levels are required to move the needle to zero. With pedestrians and cyclists also being an important component and consideration of a safe and reliable transportation system. FDOT continues to prioritize safe and viable options as part of the state’s transportation infrastructure and projects for our most vulnerable road users.”
FDOT also unveiled a statewide lane closure notification system in August to enhance safety for drivers and roadway workers.
The pilot Lane Closure Notification System (LCNS) is designed to improve worker safety by alerting drivers about active work zones or lane closures, as well as aid motorists in navigating work zones safely, timely and efficiently.
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