Frederick Gottemoeller - Bridgescape LLC

Bridges Speak To Us

Fort Lauderdale Airport Tunnel Fort Lauderdale Airport Tunnel Fort Lauderdale Airport Tunnel Fort Lauderdale Airport Tunnel Fort Lauderdale Airport Tunnel Fort Lauderdale Airport Tunnel Fort Lauderdale Airport Tunnel Fort Lauderdale Airport Tunnel

Fort Lauderdale Airport Tunnel

Fort Lauderdale Florida

In plan the platform for the runway would be a parallelogram measuring about 408 feet wide and 720 feet long. The platform for the taxiway would be a trapezoid an average of 450 feet wide and about 420 feet long. The precast concrete girders would be 6 feet deep and would be spaced 8 feet apart and have spans varying from 44 feet to 115 feet. The runway and taxiway themselves would be concrete slabs cast directly on the precast girders. Vertical clearances to the bottoms of the girders would be about 26 feet over the railroad and Light Rail Transit and about 22 feet or more over the roadways. The tops of the girders would be at the same level as the tops of the 4 foot by 8 foot deep cap beams. The girders would be placed first on falsework and then the cap beams would be cast around their ends.

The louvers would be angled so as to reflect the strong Florida sunlight against the interior ceilings of the tunnels to reduce the amount or artificial light that would have to be provided. Each louver would be curved in cross section to make it an optically efficient reflector at multiple sun angles. Because the louvers would be reflecting the actual sunlight the light they contribute to the interior would be strongest when the sun is the brightest, which is also when the most light would be needed in the interior in order to minimize the contrast with full daylight. Because the infield between the runway and the taxiway would be open to the sky, drivers would actually have to adjust to differing light conditions four times on each passage: daylight to dark interior to daylight to dark interior to daylight. The louvers would minimize the adjustment required.

The virtual "ceiling" above the roadways would be in the "empty" volume above the 17'-6" clearance level and below the girder soffits. Virtual walls for the roadways would be defined by linear LED tubes in vertical grooves on the piers extending from the safety barrier up to the virtual ceiling. Both ceiling and wall LED tubes will have static alternating colors of blue and white. The light levels of the LED tubes will be coordinated with the roadway lighting so that they are visible during daytime even in the transition zones. As an added dynamic feature, floodlights would be provided along the railroad next to SB US 1. These would be triggered by an approaching train and would light the side of the train as it proceeds through the tunnel. They will create an interesting visual experience for tunnel users as well as relieve any anxieties they may have about the presence of the train.

The contrast between daylight and the relatively dark tunnels would be particularly acute in the infield area between the runway and the taxiway platforms. To reduce the brightness of the pavements and surroundings in this area, rows of palm trees would be placed in the five medians between the roadways/railroad/LRT and at the west side of the Perimeter Road. Palms were proposed which could tolerate the 3 ft minimum medians, have a mature height less than the runway and taxiway elevations, would be drought tolerant and which would not have to be trimmed annually. Similar patterns of palms would be provided on the approaches. Depending on the angle of the sun the palms would provide varying degrees of shade and diffusion of light. Their trunks would foreshadow the rows of piers in the interior. During the night, they would be illuminated in a downward direction from their tops. They would provide a dramatic and pleasing transition from structure to structure and would also help to mitigate the necessary removal of trees form other project areas.

Mr. Gottemoeller was the aesthetic advisor to the engineers of the design - build team. The team's proposal was not chosen for construction.

  • Length: 720 ft. and 420 ft.
  • Width: 408 ft. and 450 ft.
  • Spans: Vary 44 ft. to 115 ft.
  • Estimated Cost: $990 million
  • Year of Completion: Not applicable
  • Design Engineers: Hatch Mott MacDonald Florida, LLC.
  • Aesthetic Lighting: lllumination Arts LLC
  • Landscape architect: Studio Schiff LLC
  • Owner: Broward County Aviation Department

Photo Credits: Hatch Mott MacDonald, Inc.