The Central Florida Expressway Authority board voted Thursday to hire four separate engineering firms to evaluate potential new toll road routes in Osceola County.
The agency had 18 months to select the consulting firms and complete the analysis, which involves conducting traffic studies, corridor analysis and even determining "fatal flaws" for each toll road in the 2040 Master Plan.
CFX Engineering Director Glenn Pressimone said he expects to bring all four contracts back for final approval in March, which leaves each firm with about a year to complete the studies.
"We want to get some fresh eyes on it," OCX Executive Director Jeff Jones told GrowthSpotter. Jones was one of two Oscoela representatives on the selection committee.
The board took a similar approach with top-ranked Inwood Consulting Engineers. Inwood conducted the PD&E study for the Poinciana Parkway/I-4 Connector and the Southport Connector, but the board assigned Inwood to evaluate the Northeast Connector.
The CFX board selected Kimley-Horn to evaluate the Poinciana Parkway - I-4 Connector.
RS&H was chosen for the Southport Connector study.
"We've switched them around in order to get a unique new look at each of the segments," Pressimone said.
If a project is deemed "viable," CFX management would be required to include the project in the agency's next five-year capital budget, also known as the five-year work program.
Board Treasurer Jay Madara questioned the efficiency of hiring four different firms, but Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs supported the recommendation to separate the contracts so a single firm wouldn't be overloaded.
"Because they are distinct projects, this gives us the opportunity to spread the work around in the community, which is always a goal of ours, without adding to the cost," she said.