Central Florida Commuter Rail: SunRail

Sunrail Phase 1

Client
Florida Department of Transportation

Project Overview
SunRail is central Florida’s commuter rail line.  The corridor is shared with CSX, Amtrak, and other tenant rails.  The corridor is 61 miles long and SunRail currently operate on 48 miles of the corridor from DeBary in Volusia County to to Poinciana in Osceola County. HNTB managed construction engineering and inspection services for the SunRail projects.

Strategy
The SunRail project began in 2011 when FDOT purchased 61 miles of track, and phase II south 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 South, delivered in part by design-bid-build and design-build, extended service approximately 17 miles and included trackwork, 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 south. 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.

HNTB was also awarded construction engineering and inspection services for the final leg, Phase II North, that will extend the corridor 13 miles to the north to Deland Florida to complete the vision for SunRail in Central Florida.

Results
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 south project has had a positive impact on the surrounding area.