Over time, Ellis Road in West Melbourne has become increasingly congested as a main east-west thoroughfare. The roadway is expected to become even more crowded with its connection to a new interchange with Interstate 95 that was completed in 2020.
Hanson is providing final roadway and drainage design to widen Ellis Road from a two-lane rural section to a four-lane urban section for approximately 1.7 miles from John Rodes Boulevard to west of Wickham Road. The overall goal is to improve traffic flow and safety because the road will serve as a direct link between the new interchange and the Melbourne Orlando International Airport.
The main design elements for widening Ellis Road follow recommendations from a project development and environment (PD&E) study prepared for the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). The typical section for the FDOT Local Agency Program-funded project includes a four-lane divided urban roadway with curb and gutter, a bike lane, a sidewalk and a utility strip in both directions.
The project has been ranked as a high priority by FDOT and the Space Coast Transportation Planning Organization.
The initial phase of the roadway widening project involved a detailed drainage analysis and project development and environment study re-evaluation for the L-15 Canal, an outfall that runs parallel to Ellis Road along the project length, to propose alternatives to reduce right-of-way acquisition costs. This canal segment is part of the Crane Creek Canal Network, a regional drainage outfall for the 1,400-acre watershed that encompasses most of West Melbourne.
The proposed roadway widening results in unavoidable impacts to the canal. Current grading and setback criteria would have resulted in canal relocation with high impacts to adjacent property. Hanson investigated alternatives and developed models to minimize property impacts by enclosing the L-15 Canal. A proposed conditions model included enclosing the canal into a dual, 48-inch pipe trunk line to replace the canal segment and adding two regional ponds near the corridor.
This proposed alternative is being advanced to final design as part of the roadway widening effort. Enclosing the canal resulted in more than $10 million in right-of-way acquisition cost savings and reduced the proposed typical section width by 40 feet, which greatly minimized impacts to existing properties and businesses.
The project has included significant utility coordination to locate and avoid water and sewer, electric, cable and telephone infrastructure. There are also more than 60 side-street and driveway connections within the project limits to be considered. Extensive permitting coordination is required with numerous regulatory agencies.
Right-of-way acquisition costs have been partially funded, and final design services continue as agencies work to secure construction funding.