By Brian Yogodzinski
“Flip-flop”, that was the sound or rather the action from the County related to restoring the left hand turn lanes at the intersection of South Alafaya Trail and Avalon Park Boulevard. The reasoning for this is that sheet pile driving, like that currently occurring in the region of the golf course will be occurring at the intersection in approximately three weeks.
What was the fix for restoring the left hand turn lanes? For the south side of the intersection, the alternation would be to use the current paved surface. That would be restoring it to the exact configuration just prior to the lane shift on the 18th. The north side of the intersection would be enhanced by using compacted fill in the median and paving a new lane for the northbound traffic. That would allow for a configuration as shown in the figure.
The County noted that with sheet pile driving occurring in three weeks that the median would be needed for the operation of the sheet pile driver. That is reasonable given the size of the equipment. But also reasonable would have been choosing a different sheet pile driver as there are other drivers available. Unfortunately the equipment is there so changing it out is most likely not an option.
Given that the left hand turn lanes would not be installed now, the next question to the County focused on adding the left hand turn lanes after the sheet pile driving was completed. The response was that this would not occur. Light timing would be adjusted as necessary to keep traffic flowing as best as possible.
The subject of planning and risk assessment again comes to the surface. The County should have considered the impact of removing the left hand turn lanes and also the impact of other activities associated with the project that could impact temporary enhancements such as restoring these two lanes. In this case there may not have been an ideal solution. A plausible solution could have been modify the traffic pattern to eliminate the turn lanes and then start the sheet pile driving at the intersection so the turn lanes could be restored in a timely manner. Divers would have been better of if the turn lanes were only eliminated for a few weeks. Also the question needs to be raised if they considered different pile drivers that may have been able to be used that would not impact the addition of the left hand turn lanes.
Brian Yogodzinski is a Mechanical Engineer from North Carolina State University with 25 years of experience, primarily in the power generation business. During that time he became a specialist in the area of Transportation Engineering for the movement of over-dimensional and over-weight components such as power plant generators, combustion turbines, and steam turbines, with typical components ranging from 110,000 pounds to 1,000,000 pounds. He has extensive experience working with state and local authorities to ensure regulation compliances and safe transit of these commodities in the public domain. He currently works for a firm that builds equipment for and constructs power plants.