Brightline completes Zone 2 of its Orlando extension

Feb. 16, 2022
The zone is one of four along the 170-mile extension, which is currently 70 percent complete.

Brightline has completed Zone 2, a 3.5-mile section of corridor that is part of its extension from West Palm Beach to Orlando International Airport (OIA). While Zone 2 is one of four zones on the 170-mile extension, Brightline says it “represents one of the most complex and challenging areas for construction in the entire project.”

Zone 2 is an engineered double track that travels under active airport taxiways and over tug roads running through the heart of OIA. Construction elements of this zone include six bridges, two underpasses and several airport improvements, including a new traffic interchange configuration at Cargo Road, located north of the airport and the airport’s first roundabout designed to assist with traffic flow.

Brightline completed additional infrastructure on the project to accommodate future transportation options through the airport including embankment, bridge foundations at the tug roads and a shared underpass at Cargo Road. The project was constructed in partnership with the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA).

Beginning in 2023, Brightline trains will travel through the airport corridor at 35 mph before heading east along SR 528 towards Cocoa where they will reach top speeds of 125 mph. Trains traveling along Zone 2 will have access to the airport’s new Intermodal Terminal Facility and the Beachline Expressway/SR 528.

“The inclusion of intercity rail service at Orlando International Airport has been part of our vision since the planning and design of our world-class facility,” said Brad Friel, director of planning and development, GOAA. “It’s very rewarding that the Brightline team is able to help meet that goal nearly 40 years later.”

The Orlando extension is 70 percent complete and is scheduled to be finished by the end of 2022. The Middlesex Corporation, based in Orlando, served as general contractor and constructed the corridor over 33 months through the work of more than 100 employees who logged more than 419,000 hours.

Subcontractors on the project included Delta Railroad Construction, Inc. of Ashtabula, Ohio, HWR (a joint venture of Herzog and Railworks) of Melbourne, Fla., Sterling Enterprises, L.L.C. of Lake Helen, Fla., Transportation Systems Inc. of Orlando, G&C Welding Specialists of Sanford, Fla., Keller of Orlando and Tierra, Inc. of Winter Garden, Fla.

The track was constructed with American-made recycled steel from Steel Dynamics North America Inc., in Ft. Wayne, Ind., and concrete ties manufactured by Rocla in its purpose-built plant in Ft. Pierce, Fla. With Zone 2 now complete, Wabtec of Jacksonville, Fla., will install Positive Train Control under contract with Brightline.

“Our construction through OIA presented one of the most complex construction efforts of this entire project and our successful completion is a testament to partnership, teamwork and out-of-the-box thinking,” said Michael Cegelis, executive vice president, development and construction for Brightline. “The collective efforts of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, the Middlesex Corporation and our team resulted in the first ever high-speed rail corridor in one of the busiest airports in the nation.”

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