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East Selmon Expressway from North Morgan Street to Interstate 75

Tampa, Florida, United States


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Project Summary

Surveying a Complex Highway

The Tampa Bay area includes three of the most densely populated cities in Florida: Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater. The 2.8 million people in the metro area depend on a strong highway transportation system to prevent travel from becoming a headache. To keep traffic moving, the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority began a USD 70 million project to widen a nine-mile section of the Selmon Expressway, which stretches east to west from Interstate 75 in the suburb of Brandon to Gandy Boulevard in south Tampa. This complex project includes a four-lane limited access highway and a three-lane raised reversible toll expressway, 46 bridges, 34 ramps that connect to 14 intersection roads, and two Interstate systems. The authority contracted West Palm Beach, Fla.-based civil engineering firm WGI to survey the project, but the numerous and varied elements made collecting surveying data for construction planning a challenge.

Making Sense of LiDAR Data

To accurately survey the area, WGI realized that traditional surveying methods would not be sufficient. They needed the accuracy of LiDAR scans to ensure seamless connections between the elements and improve the overall quality of the project. However, they soon discovered that simply collecting LiDAR data would not be enough. They also required a way to manage the huge amount of data that they would gather from scanning over 85 miles of roads, ramps, and other elements. Additionally, they wanted to display the data in an intuitive way, so all stakeholders could immediately understand the scope and requirements of the work. Therefore, WGI sought solutions that went beyond their standard data collection software.

Transforming Measurements into a Digital Twin

After considering various options, WGI determined that they could understand the massive amount of LiDAR data with Bentley applications. They first created a connected data environment with ProjectWise to ensure that all information is accurate and up to date. Next, they used mobile and static LiDAR units to collect data from the long, complex highway. Using Bentley’s Orbit 3DM solution, they processed the collected LiDAR data and validated its accuracy. They also used the software to produce an online point cloud viewing platform to share data with all stakeholders. Lastly, they used MicroStation to model 3D elements and create an accurate digital twin of the project.

Reducing Costs while Improving Safety

By using Bentley applications, WGI processed the LiDAR data that they collected and presented the information to stakeholders. Using Orbit 3DM to validate the data they confirmed that it was accurate to within 0.015 feet, which is much lower than the maximum allowed deviation of 0.05 feet. Orbit 3DM also helped them significantly save time spent in the field, which reduced safety risks. Presenting the data in an intuitive visual way helped WGI clearly communicate their survey results to all stakeholders. Engineers can now use the digital twin to virtually visit and take measurements of the project.

Project Playbook

MicroStationOrbit 3DMProjectWise


  • WGI used Bentley applications to manage a large amount of LiDAR data generated while conducting survey work on a highway widening project.

  • WGI used Orbit 3DM to create an intuitive point cloud viewing platform to clearly communicate the state of the highway to project stakeholders.

  • Creating digital versions of the project, including a full digital twin, reduced the amount of field work, lowering costs and improving safety.


“The Orbit environment allowed us to merge disparate data sets into a single publication along with our MicroStation CAD data, providing a one-stop shop for client data access."

Sandor Laszlo
Regional Manager, Technology, WGI

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