US 27 Design from Polk/Highlands County Line to CR 630A
Depending on local transportation priorities, available funding, and complexities of the job, a project’s progression from planning to construction may take 15 years. FDOT follows federal and state requirements throughout project development and works closely with government agencies, partners and the local community as we identify new projects and move them throughout the production pipeline. Planning, the Project Development and Environment (PD&E) study, final design, right-of-way acquisition, and construction are sequential phases of production for projects.
The Polk Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) has identified US 27 as a transportation priority. FDOT also considers US 27 a priority and emphasizes its importance to the eastern Polk County roadway network.
Project Development and Environment (PD&E) Study
The PD&E study is a federally required first step and evaluates engineering, environmental, social, historic and cultural effects for proposed projects. It also estimated costs for future phases of production, including design, right-of-way, and construction. FDOT documents the need for the proposed project and develops roadway improvement alternatives during the study. These alternatives also consider comments from public officials, agency partners, and members of the community. The "recommended alternative," a conceptual design, is presented at a public hearing at the end of the study. Documents are then forwarded to the Office of Environmental Management for approval. The PD&E study for US 27 was approved by FDOT Office of Environmental Management in April 2017.
The design phase moves the conceptual plan presented at the public hearing in the PD&E study and develops it into a formal set of construction drawings that are used to bid and build the job. These final plans are very detailed roadway construction plans and include design of a stormwater drainage system, traffic signals, lighting systems, median openings, bridges (if the job includes structures), a plan for signs to be installed along the road, utility plans (if relocations are necessary to accommodate highway expansion), construction sequencing (a plan for maintenance of traffic and driveway access), as well as design of the road itself.
FDOT needs to acquire property to build the road and stormwater management facilities for this project.With details defined during design, FDOT can determine specifically how much right-of-way or land is needed to expand the roadway and build stormwater ponds. When more land, or property, is needed than the state already owns, FDOT acquires property in order to build roadway improvements on publicly-owned land (in other words, within state-owned right-of-way). In accordance with Florida statute, FDOT can only purchase property that is necessary for documented transportation improvements and pays fair market value for any property or part of property acquired for road expansion. FDOT will notify property owners in writing if their land is affected, and letters to affected property owners will also provide names and contact information for right-of-way agents managing this phase of the project. More information about FDOT’s right-of-way acquisition process may be found at www.dot.state.fl.us/rightofway/Documents.shtm.
After design plans are completed and right-of-way acquisition concluded, FDOT advertises the project for construction. Qualified contractors may bid on it. Typically, construction work starts three or four months after FDOT hires the contractor (who must mobilize crews and arrange for equipment and materials). Construction jobs may take two to three years, and sometimes longer depending on complexities of the projects. After FDOT hires the contractor, more information is available about a project's construction schedule and crews' approach to the work.