The Wekiva Parkway Section 6 Project – DeLand, Florida

The signature Wekiva Parkway Section 6 project rehabilitated a vital stretch of the Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) $1.6 billion Wekiva Parkway through conscientious design and construction practices. The Wekiva Parkway (SR 429) connects to SR 417, completing a beltway around Central Florida. FDOT divided its Wekiva Parkway project into eight self-contained contracts and hired the Superior Construction-WGI, Inc. design-build team to complete Section 6 of the parkway. WGI, Inc. (WGI) was the lead designer for the project, supported by Finley Engineering (now COWI) for the segmental portion of the project.

This $243 million design-build project, which received the American Council of Engineering Companies of Florida (ACEC-FL) Grand Engineering Excellence Award, redirects traffic from the congested I-4 corridor and improves traveler safety. Section 6 of the Wekiva Parkway comprises nearly six miles of limited access toll road primarily along the existing SR 46 corridor from SR 429 to just west of Longwood-Markham Road. The project scope included a non-tolled service road for local travel, three new bridges over the Wekiva River, and nine wildlife bridges to allow animals to pass safely between the Seminole State Forest and Rock Springs Run State Reserve, for a total of 18 bridges with over 1.268M square feet of new bridge deck.

The design-build team used 13 alternative technical concepts to improve upon the preliminary design, maximize mobility during construction, expedite construction, and enhance safety without compromising the surrounding environment. Because Section 6 is part of eight total adjoining Wekiva Parkway sections, the project management team had to strategically interrelate various features, including utility adjustments, with the adjoining Wekiva Parkway projects to the west to ensure cohesion.

Additionally, The Wekiva River is designated as a Federal Wild and Scenic River, which necessitated environmentally conscious construction methods. Throughout the preliminary design process, the Superior Construction-WGI team coordinated extensively with local agencies, and stakeholders including the National Park Service to achieve approval in accordance with the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

The project’s most visible aspect is the Wekiva River Crossing, which includes three complex 2,068-foot-long bridges, each of which included cast-in-place (CIP) concrete segmental spans totaling 880 feet with a 360-foot main span. They were constructed from the top down to protect the surrounding environment during the construction phase and provide undisturbed and safe habitats for wildlife after completion. The design-build team’s innovative use of top-down balanced cantilever construction for the segmental bridge spans over the Wekiva River minimized environmental impacts by eliminating work in the water. They also used wireless turbidity sensors to continuously monitor water turbidity.

Superior and WGI developed their creative construction concept alongside Shelby, a qualified team with unique segmental bridge construction experience, and through a strategic partnership with FINLEY Engineering. Because segmental construction requires post-tensioning systems that must be protected, Superior used a flexible filler of microcrystalline wax instead of grout to provide strand protection for continuity tendons, enabling tendon strand replacement over time, if necessary. For the conventional bridges, the design-build team used an overhang system that was delivered in 20-foot pre-constructed sections, enabling faster deck pours. The contractor also used a TyBot system, which uses lasers and cameras to make reinforcing steel tie connections, further speeding up production.

To minimize the impact of construction on the traveling public and maintain a wildlife crossing, the contractor placed an ACROW Bridge for use during one phase of construction. The proprietary modular steel bridge was delivered on-site and assembled for temporary use during the traffic shift from the existing CR 46. Once traffic shifted onto the permanent SR 429, crews disassembled the ACROW bridge and shipped it back to the owner.

The entrant provided the best value project by leveraging the design-build team’s design, innovation, and construction expertise in the collaborative design-build process, overcoming numerous karst topography challenges, including extending a span to bridge a raveled zone, using rigid inclusions for five sinkholes that developed, and redesigning two pile-supported bridges and one wildlife crossing. FDOT evaluated the team on its value-added features as part of the proposal evaluation. To this end, the Superior/WGI team provided a table of 22 value-added features impacting aspects of the project ranging from asphalt pavement to bridge elements to intelligent transportation systems components, and more. Ultimately, the design-build team was able to deliver the following features:

  • A parallel service road for local travel
  • A multi-use trail facility
  • Electronic tolling gantries
  • Side-street construction
  • Intelligent transportation systems (ITS)
  • An entrance road for Rock Springs Run State Reserve Park
  • Three signature cast-in-place segmental bridges over the Wekiva River
  • Nine wildlife bridges (>17,328 feet)

This project provided important transportation infrastructure that minimized impacts on the Wekiva River Basin resources, helped maintain wildlife habitat continuity, reduced vehicle-wildlife conflicts, and improved connectivity in Florida’s burgeoning central region.

Jury Comments

This bridge includes an impressive three signature bridges built using segmental construction and true top-down methods that were key to providing a successful project in a highly environmentally sensitive area. The project and team showed unique problem solving and a drive to push innovation for the segmental bridge industry through its use of robotics, construction monitoring solutions, and innovative and safe construction techniques. Many other technological and innovative features were utilized to deliver this project and provide an aesthetic structure to match the surrounding natural beauty. While experiencing challenging circumstances, the project maintained cost effectiveness and was delivered successfully.


2023 ASBI Bridge Award of Excellence
Category: Bridges Over Water



Owner’s Engineer:

Finley Engineering Group

Design-Build Team:
Superior Construction and WGI

Superior Construction

Construction Engineering Services:
Finley Engineering Group

Constructability Review/Estimating Services:

Construction Engineering Inspection:

Formwork for Cast-in-Place Segments:

Erection Equipment:

Structural Technologies VSL

R.J. Watson, Inc.

Expansion Joints:
Watson Bowman Acme

Epoxy Supplier:
Pilgrim Permocoat

Prepackaged Grout:
BASF and Euclid Chemical Company

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