Wilson Boulevard Extension / Benfield Road Corridor Study – Final
The Study was initiated by the Collier County Transportation Planning Department in July 2007. The area studied is approximately 20 miles long and 9 miles wide, bordered by US 41 to the south, CR 951/Collier Boulevard to the west, Golden Gate Boulevard to the north and Everglades Boulevard to the east. The Collier County Growth Management Plan requires transportation system enhancements to maintain the adopted roadway level of service to accommodate approved and anticipated development. The existing CR 951 facility serves as the primary corridor for north-south mobility connecting Marco Island to the northern limit of Collier County at Immokalee Road and is planned to be extended into Lee County. Although growth along the corridor has subsided due to the current economic downturn, the development of remaining land in Golden Gate Estates and along the corridor will ultimately causes the CR 951 facility to fail.
The need for a north-south arterial road was identified in the Collier Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) 2030 Long Range Transportation Plan approved by the Board of County Commissioners on January 12, 2006. The Collier MPO 2030 LRTP minor update approved by the MPO Board on June 8, 2007 maintained the need for this facility. The Wilson Boulevard Extension/Benfield Road facility is identified in the 2030 LRTP as a financially feasible project.
Public input has been sought throughout the study process. Since the study began in 2007, Collier County has conducted a series of public outreach events, including two major public workshops, the Benfield Road community meeting, the VeronaWalk community meeting and other meetings/presentations to agencies, associations (Golden Gate Estates Area Civic Association), stakeholders and groups such as Leadership Collier. Many of the meetings and coordination efforts were conducted by County staff, with participation by the Consultant Team. In addition, two newsletters were prepared and information was posted on the County’s website to provide project information and updates. In addition, meetings were held with environmental and other government agencies and individual property owners to discuss the project alternatives in detail and to obtain comments. It is important to note that these comments received by the county have been documented, reviewed, and in some cases, accounted for by additions, deletions or /modifications of the proposed alternative alignments.
The Study was refined to consider the following alternatives:
Although a no build condition was modeled, capacity improvements may be considered should there be no alternate parallel roadway constructed in an effort to reduce congestion and delay. This may include geometric enhancements at key intersections within the corridor, widening CR 951 to an eight lane condition, enhancements at the I-75 interchange, and new interchanges at key locations such as US 41.
Alternative 2: Miller Boulevard
The Miller Boulevard alternative would provide a north/south connection to the Collier County Hurricane Evacuation Route Plan. It would improve access to the interstate system for evacuees during an emergency event and improve regional evacuation and emergency response time.
Portions of Alternative 2 currently exist as Miller Boulevard, a non-functionally classified local roadway. In order for this alternative to be viable, this facility would be upgraded to meet current design standards. As with the No Build scenario, an eight-lane facility within the vicinity of I-75 does not provide sufficient capacity to achieve acceptable LOS.
Conclusion and Recommendations
Utilizing feedback from the workshops, technical analysis, and collaboration with Collier County Transportation staff, the consultants have produced a final Study report with the following conclusions and recommendations:
- The No Build alternative would not only result in increased congestion on CR 951/Collier Boulevard, but would also encourage diversion to adjacent parallel facilities west of CR 951/Collier Boulevard therefore increasing congestion on those facilities.
- Under the No Build alternative, additional portions of the CR951/Collier Boulevard corridor will ultimately fail shortly after the 2035 study year. Similarly, congestion on parallel facilities west of CR 951/Collier Boulevard would increase.
- With or without the construction of an additional north-south corridor, the interchange at I-75 and CR 951/Collier Boulevard will require a complete reconstruction prior to the year 2035. Estimates have ranged between $125 million and $250 million depending on the limits of the reconstruction.
- Alternative 2 (Miller Boulevard) does not provide significant relief to CR 951/Collier Boulevard, however it does provide a secondary connection between development along the US 41, Marco Island and Golden Gate Estates. It also provides an excellent opportunity for an emergency evacuation route. Due to the significant environmental impacts and the minimal mobility benefit, this alternative would not satisfy the requirements identified in the purpose and need statement of this corridor study.
- Alternative 3A/3B (Wilson/Benfield) would provide significant relief to CR 951/Collier Boulevard and adjacent parallel facilities.
- Costs associated with each build alternative prohibit the feasibility of constructing this facility as one project. However, it should be noted that alternative 3A/3B is approximately twenty miles long and represents a corridor that would be developed in phases concurrently with development and growth along the corridor.
- Florida Rock Industries, Inc. which entered into a Developer Contribution Agreement with the County on June 26, 2007 is moving forward with their project. The agreement requires the developer to provide to the County 60% Design Plans for the roadway to be located within the Wilson Boulevard Extension as identified in the North Belle Meade Overlay of the GMP.
Typically the next phase associated with developing the corridor would include engineered 60% design plans. Due to the length of time before physical construction would begin it would not be practical to begin the design phase at this time. Therefore, based upon the review of all critical factors, the study team has reached a consensus that alternative 3A/3B should remain as a critical facility on the LRTP Financially Feasible Plan and should be treated as a “Managed Corridor” when development or redevelopment takes place. For the purposes of the final recommendation a Managed Corridor is defined as a 300’ alignment that will be monitored by transportation for opportunities to coordinate and negotiate the preservation of the corridor. Staff will use advanced right of way purchases, Developer Contribution Agreements, zoning approvals and reservation agreements to maintain the integrity of this corridor as development and redevelopment takes place. Transportation will coordinate with the building department to identify “flag” all lots that may be impacted by this future corridor. During development, staff would also consider alternative alignments and bring back any changes to the BCC.
Please review updates to the website completed on January 13, 2010 to review final documentations and recommended managed corridor.
For more information, please contact Collier County Project Manager Debbie Armstrong at (239) 252-8192 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
October 12, 2009 Update
January 13, 2010 Update
April 16, 2010 Update