Erdman Anthony provided highway design and land surveying services for SR A1A, a 4.8-mile 3R project. The project involved minor widening, drainage improvements, and specialized lighting to accommodate the sea turtle nesting and hatching season. The intent of the project was to resurface the existing roadway and provide a continuous 10-foot-wide pedestrian pathway along the entire west side of the corridor. Pedestrian upgrades included the installation of truncated domes at all pedestrian ramps and coordination with the City of Boca Raton for five new mid-block pedestrian crossings. Traffic signal upgrades included the addition of video detectors to replace conventional in-pavement sensor loops and pedestrian countdown displays. This project also included several coordination meetings with the City of Boca Raton and one public information meeting that was attended by local residents and city staff.
As we provided the 3R services on this project the challenge of "turtle-friendly" lighting arose. Roadway lighting interferes with the nesting of female turtles and is particularly disastrous for young hatchlings, which travel toward the lights instead of the sea. Our traffic/transportation expert, Nisar Khan, Ph.D., P.E., PTOE, worked closely with the FDOT and the City of Boca Raton to resolve this issue.
The objective was to minimize the negative impact of roadway lighting on turtle nesting and hatchling activities while ensuring the safety of the traveling public. Pole-mounted roadway lights are known to discourage turtle nesting and disorient turtle hatchlings. Embedded pavement lights (LED pavement markers) were installed, as opposed to overhead lighting, to avoid this problem. Our work on this project and the resulting recognition of our expertise in this area led the FDOT to select Erdman Anthony to develop alternative lighting design standards for environmentally sensitive coastal areas in Florida. These standards will ultimately be used statewide by the FDOT and others working in coastal regions.
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