Services include survey, alternatives development, environmental impact evaluations, public involvement, design of roadway, drainage and structural components, environmental permitting, and right-of-way mapping. Dewberry will prepare concepts and plans over the course of the two-year preliminary schedule, with a goal to start acquiring right of way in July 2024.
“I think that Dewberry was chosen [for this project] mainly based on our qualifications and experience,” said Ray Lee, PE, Dewberry Associate Vice President and Senior Project Manager. “I think that our experience is second to none because we worked on this very same interchange for FDOT under the I-4 Beyond the Ultimate project. … We also have a great relationship with Polk County, who is a major stakeholder in this project.”
The project includes widening U.S. 27 from six to eight lanes south of Ernie Caldwell Boulevard to Ritchie Road; designing Backage Road, a new two-lane urban collector roadway; modifying the existing I-4 ramps; and creating an auxiliary lane on I-4 from U.S. 27 to Champions Gate (CR 532). The project will also feature a pair of restricted crossing U-turns (RCUTS), two modern roundabouts, grade separation of the intersection between U.S. 27 and Home Run Boulevard, and lengthening the existing U.S. 27 bridge over I-4.
“I think the community will certainly benefit with the added lanes both on US 27 and on I-4,” Lee said. “It will add capacity and help alleviate some of the congestion. The properties along US 27 will also get improved access with this project. We’ll be adding sidewalks and bike lanes, so there will be safer pedestrian and bicycle accommodations along US 27.”
According to Lee, Dewberry will have an extensive public involvement campaign to get stakeholder support for the project.
“We’ll be using some tools — such as 3D simulations — to show the public what the ultimate improvements will look like at the interchange,” Lee said. “We’ll be using these tools, such as VR [virtual reality] goggles, so folks can put them on and see what the improvements will look like.”
Dewberry’s major subconsultants for this contract are AIM Engineering and Surveying (PD&E study); Patel, Greene and Associates (design support); Faller and Davis (environmental support); and Tierra (geotechnical services). Construction for the project is expected to begin in July 2026.