The Connector is instrumental in relieving traffic congestion in historic Ybor City and improving freight access to the Port of Tampa. It also provides an additional hurricane evacuation route and enhances emergency access for first responders.
Atkins served as lead engineer on the $426 million project, and as the primary designer of the Connector’s southern portion (80 percent of the overall construction effort). Innovative features include a toll gantry that saves FDOT an estimated $10 million in capital and maintenance costs, and truck-only lanes that provide convenient, exclusive freight access and minimize congestion and safety issues on local roads. The project is also one of the first to use concrete segmental construction and incorporate the new AASHTO Bridge Code.
Atkins' ability to mobilize staff in support of this project enabled completion of alternate bridge designs three months early in an aggressive design schedule. Aesthetics also played a key role in the project, with designers making every effort to incorporate the style and character of historic Ybor City. One of the project’s notable features is a “gateway” that evokes the area’s unique, century-old Florida architecture.
The project received the Florida Institute of Consulting Engineers (FICE)/FDOT 2014 Outstanding Project Award, FICE 2015 Engineering Excellence Award, American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) 2015 National Recognition Award, and American Segmental Bridge Institute (ASBI) 2015 Bridge Award of Excellence (urban bridges category).