Central Florida Commuter Rail: SunRail

Sunrail Phase 1

Florida Department of Transportation

Project Overview
Phase I of SunRail, central Florida’s commuter rail project, is a 32-mile joint-use corridor, stretching from DeBary in Volusia County to Sand Lake Road in Orange County. Phase II added another 17.2 miles from Deltona south to Poinciana in Osceola County. HNTB managed construction engineering and inspection services for the SunRail project.

The SunRail project began in 2011 when FDOT purchased 61 miles of track, and phase II of the project finished in 2018. In phase I, HNTB built out 31 miles of the commuter rail service, 12 stations and a large operations center and maintenance facility. Phase II, delivered in part by design-bid-build and design-build, added 13.5 miles of second tract, a new wayside signal system, a grade crossing warning system with positive train control-compliant equipment, a vehicle storage and light maintenance facility and four stations.

The biggest challenge was working on live track in phase II. HNTB coordinated schedules and outages with FDOT’s Central Florida Rail Corridor, the operator, CSX and Amtrak, as the line carries transit passengers by day and freight by night.

Beyond traditional CEI services, HNTB conducted a value engineering study that yielded cost-saving scope changes, while maintaining quality, and served as technical adviser for the design-build procurements.

Thanks to SunRail, residents and tourists now have another option for traveling to south Central Florida and more convenient access to Orlando. Tupperware donated land for its namesake station that provides service to its headquarters, and the company is developing land around the station with commercial and residential development, including a hospital. Economic growth around completion of the SunRail phase II project has had a positive impact on the surrounding area.