Erdman Anthony provided highway design and land surveying services for State Road A1A, from the Palm Beach County line to State Road 800/Spanish River Boulevard, which was a 4.8-mile resurfacing, restoration and rehabilitation (3R) project. The project involved minor widening, drainage improvements, and specialized lighting to accommodate sea turtle nesting and hatching.
The intent of the project was to resurface the existing roadway and provide a continuous 10-foot-wide pedestrian pathway along the entire west side of the corridor. Pedestrian upgrades included the installation of truncated domes at all pedestrian ramps and coordination with the City of Boca Raton for five new midblock pedestrian crossings.
Traffic-signal upgrades included the addition of video detectors to replace conventional in-pavement sensor loops and pedestrian countdown displays.
This project also included several coordination meetings with the City of Boca Raton and one public information meeting that was attended by local residents and city staff.
As we provided the 3R services, the challenge of “turtle-friendly” lighting arose. Roadway lighting interferes with the nesting of female turtles and is particularly disastrous if hatchlings travel towards the lighting instead of traveling towards the sea.
Our traffic/transportation expert worked closely with FDOT and the city to resolve this issue. The objective was to minimize the negative impact of roadway lighting on turtle nesting and hatchling activities while improving the safety of the traveling public.
Pole-mounted roadway lights are known to discourage turtle nesting and cause disorientation for hatchlings. Embedded pavement lights (LED pavement markers) were installed, as opposed to overhead lighting, to avoid this problem.
Our work on this project and the resulting recognition of our expertise in this area led FDOT to select Erdman Anthony to develop alternative lighting-design standards for environmentally sensitive coastal areas in Florida that are now used statewide by FDOT and others working in coastal regions.
Our firm’s solution reduced light pollution on beaches where sea turtles nest, prompting FDOT to adopt alternative lighting-design standards that are based on what our firm developed and that still protect hatchlings in coastal areas to this day.