CLAY COUNTY – Two Clay County firms have been selected to design, build, operate and maintain the Jacksonville Transportation Authority Bay Street Innovation Corridor project.Balfour Beatty …
CLAY COUNTY – Two Clay County firms have been selected to design, build, operate and maintain the Jacksonville Transportation Authority Bay Street Innovation Corridor project.
Balfour Beatty Construction of Orange Park and WGI Engineering of Fleming Island are two Clay County firms collectively referred to as the Vision 2 Realty Team that was selected. The project will make Jacksonville a “smarter” city with a full conversion of the current Skyway monorail-like infrastructure to an autonomous system. It’s currently 2.5 miles of Skyway, but when complete, the Ultimate Urban Circulator autonomous project will stretch to 10 miles. The Ultimate Urban Circulator, referred to as U2C by JTA, is just one of multiple projects Balfour Beatty and WGI are involved in within the greater Northeast Florida area.
“This award represents a major milestone for the U2C, the JTA and downtown Jacksonville,” JTA CEO Nathaniel P. Ford, Sr., said. “We are confident the Balfour Beatty team and its partners will deliver a world-class project on behalf of the taxpayers of Jacksonville, placing our community at the forefront of innovation.”
WGI vice president Walter Kloss agreed, citing it is one of the largest transportation-based shuttle projects happening in America. He said it will be a gamechanger for JTA and Jacksonville, and he hopes to see it inspire Clay County to build something similar.
WGI is currently assisting Clay County with its $129 million bond project, providing the managerial and experience Clay County’s staff might not have, but need a project like this. Kloss said they’re assisting Clay County in management and acquisition, the development of criteria packages, and construction engineering and inspection. WGI has also been working on the $150 million Interstate 10 design and build project, too.
Kloss said landing the U2C project goes back years. When JTA announced the project and asked for project pitches and bids, WGI and Balfour Beatty teamed up to create a “super team” of companies that would bring this autonomous transportation line to life.
“We formed this super team with Balfour Beatty, another Clay County firm, Superior Construction, Miller Electric, and Beep...and together, we went through the procurement process and were ultimately selected by JTA to do this design,” Kloss said. “It’s called a progressive design-build which means we’ll design it, build it, operate and maintain it.”
Kloss said this first-of-its-kind project will further push Jacksonville to be a smart city that promotes technology and innovation and he’s honored that WGI is the lead design firm on this project.
“I know our staff as well as myself is very excited to work on this project and we’re very excited to be a part of this team,” Kloss said. “I mean, Balfour Beatty is a best-in-class firm. It’s awesome to work with them.”
The teams involved will work for about a year on the design of the project in coordination with JTA based on their specifications and needs. He said “they want an iPhone, not a Blackberry,” referring to how Blackberry cell phones went out of style while iPhones are seemingly timeless. Kloss said the design needs to be something that’s attractive and appealing for years to come, but also something that allows for future change. And it can’t go out of style, much like the Blackberry did.
“We are honored to be selected by Jacksonville Transportation Authority to construct another successful project for the Jacksonville community,” Balfour Beatty’s senior vice president, John Harris, said. “To be a part of the Ultimate Urban Circulator program is an opportunity of a lifetime, and we look forward to remaining a relentless ally to our client, our partners and the community as we work to provide an innovative and revolutionary transportation network for the future of Jacksonville.”
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