Brightline achieves first major construction milestone

Written by RT&S Staff
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Brightline’s first major construction zone between West Palm Beach and Orlando International Airport is now complete.

Brightline has completed its first major construction zone (Zone 2) on its 170-mile extension from West Palm Beach to Orlando International Airport (OIA).

One of four zones along this extension, Zone 2 is a 3.5-mile-long section on Brightline’s corridor leading into OIA and represents one of the most complex and challenging areas for construction in the entire project.

Brightline’s Zone 2 is an engineered double track that travels under active airport taxiways and over tug roads running through the heart of OIA. Brightline’s construction of this zone included six bridges, two underpasses and several airport improvements, including a new traffic interchange configuration at Cargo Road, located north of the airport, and the airport’s first roundabout designed to assist with traffic flow. Additionally, the steel used throughout Zone 2 and throughout Brightline’s Orlando corridor extension is 100 % recycled, American-made steel sourced from Fort Wayne, Ind.

Beginning in 2023, Brightline trains will travel through the airport corridor at 35 mph before heading east along S.R. 528 towards Cocoa where they will reach top speeds of 125 mph. Trains traveling along Zone 2 will have access to the airport’s new Intermodal Terminal Facility and the Beachline Expressway/S.R. 528.

“Our construction through OIA presented one of the most complex construction efforts of this entire project and our successful completion is a testament to partnership, teamwork, and out-of-the-box thinking,” said Michael Cegelis, executive vice president, development and construction, for Brightline. “The collective efforts of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, The Middlesex Corporation, and our team resulted in the first-ever high-speed rail corridor in one of the busiest airports in the nation.”

“The completion of Zone 2 is a major milestone for the Brightline construction and engineering team as we continue to work towards the completion of the corridor to Orlando from West Palm Beach,” said Donald Jello, project manager at Brightline.

Brightline completed additional infrastructure on the project to accommodate future transportation options through the airport including embankment, bridge foundations at the tug roads, and a shared underpass at Cargo Road. The project was constructed in partnership with The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA).

The Orlando extension is 70% complete and employs more than 1,300 daily construction workers and is scheduled to be finished by the end of 2022. The Middlesex Corporation, based in Orlando, served as general contractor, and constructed the corridor over 33 months through the work of over 100 employees who logged more than 419,000 hours.

In January of 2022, Brightline began daily crew training and qualifying test runs between West Palm Beach and Cocoa as part of its extension to Orlando. Over an eight-year period, Brightline’s corridor between Miami and Orlando will result in $6.4 billion in economic impact while creating more than 10,000 jobs. Brightline currently serves Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach, with its expansion stations in Aventura and Boca Raton opening in fall of 2022.

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