Suntrax Connected Automated Test Facility
Award of Merit
Submitted by: Johnson Bros. Corp., a Southland Co.
Owner Florida Turnpike Enterprise
Lead Design Firm/Structural Engineer/Architect of Record Jacobs
General Contractor Johnson Bros. Corp., a Southland Co.
Civil Engineer/Architect of Record Bentley Architects + Engineers
MEP Engineer Salas O’Brien
Subcontractors Nassal; Alston Construction Co.; Highway Safety Devices; C.W. Roberts Contracting Inc.; Zager Global Inc.
Set on 200 acres near Auburndale, Fla., the $150.8-million tolls testing facility features 11 miles of roadway infrastructure designed to replicate diverse driving environments and simulate real-world conditions for testing self-driving cars. Crews constructed facilities with conditions that include rocky, uneven, slick and hilly terrain. The facility’s urban area provides intersection configurations, various lighting and signalization conditions, while the open paved technology pad can replicate any real-world geometric configuration.
Twenty onsite buildings support infield operations, maintenance and a stormwater management system. The arrival and conference building offers 21,534 sq ft of space that can be divided for events, exhibits, classes and conferences. The administration building serves as the operational headquarters. An observation tower provides a 360-degree view of the track and infield testing activities.
The team coordinated with multiple stakeholders, including government agencies, research institutions, technology providers and industry partners. During the design phase, market conditions necessitated reducing the timeline for the SunTrax Infield to 15 months from 24. In response, the team formed multiple design teams, incorporating more flexibility to account for decisions to be made by the future operator. Despite this challenge, the 30-month project completed on budget and ahead of schedule in July 2022.