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Author Topic: Northwest Florida Road News  (Read 136844 times)

flaroads

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Re: Northwest Florida Road News
« Reply #50 on: August 21, 2010, 11:09:47 PM »

The next section of State Road 87 between Navarre and Holley to be four-laned will be starting on Monday:

http://www.srpressgazette.com/news/project-10976-three-mile.html

The three mile ARRA funded project will extend the current four-lane section from its current end at Five Forks Road west and north to the southern end of Eglin property north of Holley. Plans include replacing the Dean Creek bridge, bike paths and sidewalks. After construction is completed in fall of 2012 only two sections will remain to be widened, one of which will be the portion within Eglin property, which is currently unfunded nor has all the right-of-way been purchased.

So for the next two years we will get to endure a 35 mile-an-hour speed limit in the construction zone on one of only two ways to get out of this area.
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Re: Northwest Florida Road News
« Reply #51 on: August 23, 2010, 05:58:07 PM »

The next section of State Road 87 between Navarre and Holley to be four-laned will be starting on Monday:

http://www.srpressgazette.com/news/project-10976-three-mile.html

One of those blue construction funding signs went up and it indicates a Winter 2012 completion. This differs from the FDOT web site that advertises Fall 2012. The work area speed limit is a patience-testing 35 mph too...

flaroads

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Re: Northwest Florida Road News
« Reply #52 on: August 23, 2010, 10:14:03 PM »

Doesn't the state of Florida know that winter lasts from early December to early March??? So in other words it may not be completed until sometime in early 2013. Or perhaps it will be completed by 12/21/2012, just in time for the end of the Mayan calendar... :-o
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Re: Northwest Florida Road News
« Reply #53 on: August 24, 2010, 02:29:27 AM »

Doesn't the state of Florida know that winter lasts from early December to early March??? So in other words it may not be completed until sometime in early 2013. Or perhaps it will be completed by 12/21/2012, just in time for the end of the Mayan calendar... :-o

Oh please! Then we will have just a few hours to marvel at it as we drive into the apocalypse. But, it is nice to see FDOT finally upgrading the Panhandle's string network of north-south, two-digit routes.
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Re: Northwest Florida Road News
« Reply #54 on: January 03, 2011, 06:20:13 PM »

Road project promises a better Avalon Boulevard

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When construction on Avalon Boulevard is complete in 2013, there will be four lanes of traffic connecting Interstate 10 to U.S. 90 in Milton

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The project is being built as four segments, each with a separate contract, totaling more than $32.7 million. It is funded primarily through state highway money and federal stimulus funds. The first segment began in January 2010, with two more starting since. The contract for the final segment was signed in December, and work should begin early this year.

Work on the final section is scheduled to be completed in 2013.

flaroads

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Re: Northwest Florida Road News
« Reply #55 on: January 03, 2011, 08:14:52 PM »

Doesn't the state of Florida know that winter lasts from early December to early March??? So in other words it may not be completed until sometime in early 2013. Or perhaps it will be completed by 12/21/2012, just in time for the end of the Mayan calendar... :-o

Oh please! Then we will have just a few hours to marvel at it as we drive into the apocalypse. But, it is nice to see FDOT finally upgrading the Panhandle's string network of north-south, two-digit routes.

Indeed it is good that FDOT is finally upgrading Florida 87, but they could have picked a better company to do the work. Motorists must reduce their speed to 35 MPH well before entering the construction zone, so instead of being stuck at a low speed for the three miles of actual construction, one must maintain that speed for at least an extra half-mile or so either side of the construction zone. And for the moment, all work is being done at the future retention ponds as well as a little bit of drainage work well away from the current pavement. I expect it to be a few more months before we see the first real significant work along the new northbound lanes.
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Garcon Point Bridge toll is $3.75 beginning today (FL)
« Reply #56 on: January 05, 2011, 10:57:32 AM »

Garcon Point Bridge toll is $3.75 beginning today

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The Santa Rosa Bay Bridge Authority voted last month to raise the toll by a quarter.

The new toll for a one-way crossing of East Bay will be $3.75 effective today.

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The decision to raise the toll was made at the December meeting of the Santa Rosa Bay Bridge Authority, which runs the bridge, according to Ira Mae Bruce, a member of the authority who resigned after the December meeting for unrelated reasons.

"The bond instruments that the Bridge Authority operates under require the toll to be raised," Bruce said.

There was no public notice of the increase, she said, but pointed out that the decision was made in an open, advertised meeting.

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Bruce acknowledged that many people already think the toll is too high.

"When I went on the authority, I questioned that," she said. "(Andrews) said that even through the usage goes down, every time they increase the toll, they actually collect more money. Most people who use the bridge use the SunPass, and it really doesn't effect them that much."

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In November 2010 — the last month for which data is listed on the bridge's website — 91,600 vehicles crossed the span, generating $318,996.19. Both of those numbers are up slightly from the same period in 2009. However, the Novembers between 2000 and 2008 all saw less revenue but more vehicles.

Completed in 1999, the bridge was funded through a $95 million bond sale. Since 2002, the bridge has failed to bring in enough revenue to make the twice-annual required payment to bond holders, but the authority has used a $9 million reserve fund to gap the shortfall. The toll has increased progressively since 2001, when the span still charged its original $2 one-way fee.

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Re: Northwest Florida Road News
« Reply #57 on: January 06, 2011, 04:15:34 PM »

$95 million sounds very steep for a standard two-lane, high-rise bridge.
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Re: Northwest Florida Road News
« Reply #58 on: January 12, 2011, 11:03:31 PM »

County afraid new DOT policy regarding light at Florosa will cause traffic backups

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FLOROSA — A new state Department of Transportation policy has some Okaloosa County officials worried that traffic near Florosa Elementary School will become more congested.

The new rule requires traffic signals in school zones to be fully operational during school hours. That means the light on U.S. Highway 98 in front of Florosa Elementary will remain activated from morning drop-off to afternoon departure.

View a photo gallery from the first day of school at Florosa.

“I think they turned it on (Tuesday),” said DOT district spokesman Tommie Speights. “Once school is out, we can put it back into flash mode.”

Florosa’s school day begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 3:20 p.m.

“We’ve been looking at school zones for a long time,” said Mark C. Wilson, state traffic operations engineer with the DOT. “We thought this would be a safety improvement.”

But county officials say the activated signal could further slow traffic in an already congested area.

“I think it’s going to be a hindrance to the traffic flow,” said County Commissioner Don Amunds. “It’s just one more stop-and-go.”

Before Tuesday, the traffic signal — which was installed in August 2008 —was activated only at the beginning and end of the school day. At all other times the signal flashed yellow.

Amunds said he was concerned that he did not see any signs on U.S. 98 notifying motorists of the change.

“People aren’t going to expect it,” he said. “I just want citizens to know it’s there and the county didn’t do it. The state did.”

John Hofstad, Okaloosa’s public works director, said county traffic engineers will monitor the traffic flow closely in the coming weeks.

“It’s potentially going to stop traffic,” he said. “It’s always congested west of Hurlburt Field, and we don’t want to implement any additional traffic control that’s further going to congest it.”

Hofstad said the county wants to keep traffic moving in that area instead of slowing it down.

He said he hopes that after Florosa’s morning drop-off time is over, the traffic signal will stay green for most of the day.

“We will monitor that closely to optimize that green east-west run time,” Hofstad said.

In Northwest Florida, the new DOT rule affects three traffic signals — in Florosa, Gulf Breeze and Panama City.

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Re: Northwest Florida Road News
« Reply #59 on: January 13, 2011, 12:02:30 AM »

so what genius of suburban planning decided it was a smart idea to build schools on major commercial arterial roads?

in the town I grew up in, all the schools were on residential two-laners.
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Re: Northwest Florida Road News
« Reply #60 on: January 13, 2011, 07:42:33 AM »

so what genius of suburban planning decided it was a smart idea to build schools on major commercial arterial roads?

in the town I grew up in, all the schools were on residential two-laners.

Kids don't walk / ride their bikes anymore, and parents are afraid of kids getting molested at bus stops. Schools practically need to be on a major highway anymore to handle the sheer amount of parents in the morning and after school. Whenever they propose it on a residential street, NIMBYs complain. At least that's how it works around here.
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Re: Northwest Florida Road News
« Reply #61 on: January 13, 2011, 10:32:08 AM »

Kids don't walk / ride their bikes anymore, and parents are afraid of kids getting molested at bus stops.

I am obligated to note that when I was in school, I walked every day.  Uphill both ways of course.  (Not really; it was about a mile walk each way on mostly level ground to all the schools I went to.)
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Re: Northwest Florida Road News
« Reply #62 on: January 14, 2011, 12:38:17 AM »

so what genius of suburban planning decided it was a smart idea to build schools on major commercial arterial roads?

in the town I grew up in, all the schools were on residential two-laners.

Well, nearly all schools in Tennessee are on major arterials.  This helps makes rush hour a pain.
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Re: Northwest Florida Road News
« Reply #63 on: February 05, 2011, 11:55:57 PM »

Toll bridge threatened by bankruptcy

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The Garcon Point Bridge is 3.5 miles of solidly anchored steel and concrete stretching over East Bay in Santa Rosa County.

It is not going anywhere anytime soon.

But unless some sort of miracle happens soon, the bridge is going to default on its debts and its ownership will be snatched from the Santa Rosa Bay Bridge Authority.

State Sen. Don Gaetz has been watching the bridge’s deteriorating financial situation closely. He said he thinks its future is important enough to be discussed during this year’s legislative session.

Gaetz said he’s eager to take up the issue with the new secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation when that person is appointed by Gov. Rick Scott.

The question Gaetz will pose is: What happens when the owner of a $95 million toll bridge declares bankruptcy?

From the conversations he has had, Gaetz said he sees three scenarios.

The first would be to let ownership of the bridge “go back to the bondholders so they can decide what to do with it,” he said.

The second would be for the state to offer to take the bridge off of the hands of the bond holders at a significant discount. The DOT could then take it over and get taxpayers “off the hook.”

Gaetz said a third option would be for the state to bail out the bond holders and assume the millions of dollars in debt they are going to find themselves saddled with if the bridge goes under.

Option three is not an option as far as Gaetz is concerned.

“I would oppose that as the senator representing Northwest Florida and as the chairman over the Senate committee with appropriation authority over transportation,” he said.

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Re: Northwest Florida Road News
« Reply #64 on: February 07, 2011, 01:53:24 PM »

Eglin's gains bring traffic pains

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WASHINGTON — State Road 85 between Eglin Air Force Base and Interstate 10 will become "significantly more congested" because defense officials aren’t building new roads fast enough to keep pace with the base’s growth, according to a government report released today.

Traffic along U.S. 98, which runs east to west, also is a concern as Eglin adds thousands of jobs from base closures elsewhere, according to the report from the National Academy of Sciences. Accidents on the road tie up traffic for miles and take hours to clear.

The Defense and Transportation departments don’t have the resources to solve the problems, the 106-page report said.

"Funding appears to be the main problem," it said.

The traffic experts and planning officials who wrote the report recommended that the Defense Department "accept more financial responsibility for traffic problems that it causes" and that Congress consider a special appropriation for military bases.

Local officials such as Okaloosa County Commission Chairman James Campbell say the economic benefits that come with Eglin’s expansion are worth the traffic problems, although they would like to see additional federal funding.

"To put things in perspective, if you’ve ever been to Atlanta or Washington, that’s real traffic," Campbell said. "What we deal with here is traffic, but it’s not real traffic."

The recent resurfacing and widening of SR-285 provided some relief. The county is in the midst of building an overpass where SR-85 goes over SR-123, to reduce military-traffic backups.

"That’s going to help those folks going north to south big time," Campbell said of the overpass.

The traffic concerns are a result of Eglin coming out a winner when the government agreed to close many military bases in 2005.

Eglin, host of the 96th Air Base Wing, also encompasses Hurlburt Field for the Air Force Special Operations Command, and Duke Field, host of the 919th Special Operations Wing. Eglin and Hurlburt had more than 20,000 military personnel and civilian workers before the gains.

By next year the base closures elsewhere will have brought Eglin 6,100 military personnel and their dependents with the Army 7th Special Forces Group and 4,900 people associated with the Joint Strike Fighter.

The Eglin complex already accounts for one-third of Northwest Florida’s economy and 70 percent of the economy in Okaloosa County.

"God has blessed us with the fact that we are going to get some of the special forces here and some of the F-35s," Campbell said. "We’re making do."

Okaloosa County applied in 2009 for a transportation stimulus grant to deal with anticipated problems with SR-85, for road, interchange and park-and-ride construction. The request, which was not approved. was for $298 million in federal funding, and would have been supplemented with $122 million in local funding.

Competition for federal funding is fierce. Roads compete with barracks and other Pentagon priorities in spending bills, which is why the report proposed a special spending bill related to base closings.

"DOD sees its responsibilities for off-base transportation facilities as limited," the report said. "In addition, off-base projects compete poorly in the military construction budget, which also funds the higher priorities of base commanders for on-base facilities."

Campbell said the county will reapply for transportation grants but will make do in the meantime.

"We have sufficed with it the way it is for several years, and it seems to be doing real well," he said.

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Re: Northwest Florida Road News
« Reply #65 on: February 07, 2011, 03:44:25 PM »

There's only so much room to grow around the base's boundaries. It doesn't help that the distance between SR 85 and SR 87 is 25 miles, and between SR 85 and SR 83 is 15 miles. Sooner or later they'll have to build another north-south route to help compensate for all the surburbia from Gulf Breeze to The Walton Beaches.

SR 285 was widened all the way up to I-10?
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Re: Northwest Florida Road News
« Reply #66 on: February 08, 2011, 11:50:22 PM »

There's only so much room to grow around the base's boundaries. It doesn't help that the distance between SR 85 and SR 87 is 25 miles, and between SR 85 and SR 83 is 15 miles. Sooner or later they'll have to build another north-south route to help compensate for all the surburbia from Gulf Breeze to The Walton Beaches.

SR 285 was widened all the way up to I-10?

The article was incorrect in a widening of SR 285. It was however repaved during the fall.

As you already know, SR 189 originally connected between Holt and Ft. Walton Beach (eons ago though...).



Work up ahead on Old Brick Road in Milton

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State Road 1 gets $1.5M face-lift

A roadway that was heralded as a modern marvel nearly a century ago is about to get a $1.57 million face lift.

The state Department of Transportation is expected to approve final funding for a project to repair and refurbish historic State Road 1 — commonly called the Old Brick Road — in East Milton this month. Work could begin as soon as March.

"About 10,000 people came to the celebration when it opened in 1921. There was dancing in the street in downtown Milton," said Brian Rucker, a Pensacola State College history professor who has studied the Old Brick Road.

That celebration included the opening of the first vehicular bridge across the Blackwater Bridge in Milton, he said. Milton had paved streets, and the brick road extended a smooth paved area east of Milton in an age when most roads were plagued by sand pits and potholes, Rucker said.

"The age of the automobile had arrived," he said. "People were trying to connect the nation on the Old Spanish Trail from St. Augustine to California. One of the big pushes was to create better roads."

Efforts to restore the 6 ½ mile roadway — which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991 — began in 2003, said project engineer Chris Phillips. The effort will be mindful of the facility's cultural importance.

"This project will include patching potholes, buckled areas and areas with no bricks with existing, period-correct bricks and modern pavers as needed," Phillips said. "In keeping with the historical context of this trail, the construction techniques utilized with be very labor intensive and time consuming as to preserve the character and integrity of the intact sections of the roadway."

The road, which closely follows the route of U.S. 90, is used by East Milton residents for walking, jogging, biking and horseback riding.

Vernon Compton, a member of the Blackwater Heritage State Trail Citizens Support Organization, said the improvements will help connect the Old Brick Road to other trails in the Milton area.

"The project will serve as a connection between the Blackwater Heritage State Trail and the Bagdad Heritage Trail and the historic communities of Milton and the Village of Bagdad to Blackwater River State Forest and Blackwater River State Park," he said.

"The old brick road will also provide a connection to numerous city and county parks and will serve as a connection between the Florida National Scenic Trail and the City of Milton."

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Re: Northwest Florida Road News
« Reply #67 on: February 09, 2011, 02:02:26 PM »

As you already know, SR 189 originally connected between Holt and Ft. Walton Beach (eons ago though...).

And judging by old county maps, it was broken up by the mid-1950s.
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FL 79 / AL 167 planned four-lane corridor
« Reply #68 on: February 14, 2011, 01:23:27 AM »

Regional leaders provide 167/79 highway update

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February 11, 2011

ENTERPRISE, Ala. – Leaders from Florida and Alabama were on hand Thursday at the seventh annual Alabama 167/Florida 79 highway update at the Enterprise, Alabama Civic Center. Over 200 people were present at the meeting, including about a dozen representatives from Holmes County.

The two groups have been working together for over seven years to support the expansion of Florida 79 from Hwy. 98 north to the Alabama line where it would link up with Alabama 167 and would be expanded all the way to Troy, Alabama.

Enterprise Mayor Kenneth Boswell and Holmes County Development Commission Executive Director Jim Brook provided the welcome. They joined several other officials and elected leaders in urging the expansion to provide more effective hurricane evacuation, improve business potential and increase tourism for both states.

The Florida Department of Transportation is working on the $366 million expansion from Hwy. 98 to Interstate 10. “It’s a primary project for the department,” FDOT District 3 Secretary Tommy Barfield said. Barfield said that acquisition of right of way and construction is funded except for an 11-mile stretch south of Vernon.

“Within the next five years we expect to see completion of almost all the project,” Barfield said.

Currently the 16.5 miles from Interstate 10 to the Alabama line is a different story. “There is no funding for that process in the state’s five-year work plan,” Barfield said.

Barfield noted that studies show that there is considerable evidence that improved infrastructure encourages economic growth.

“For every dollar invested in transportation there’s a $5 return in the long term,” Barfield said. “For every $1 billion in infrastructure investment there are about 28,000 jobs created, half in construction and half as part of what experts call a microeconomic ripple effect,” meaning that businesses taking advantage of improved infrastructure would add workers

Former Alabama Development Office Director Neal Wade, now working for the St. Joe Co., noted that the possibility of attracting business prospects is only on average half as successful without a four-lane highway. Wade also noted the importance to the region of linking four-lane highways to the new Bay County international airport, including four-lanes into Alabama to attract regional traffic.

“The airport is an economic engine in this region the likes of which we have not seen before,” Wade said.

The project has strong political support in Alabama, but funding so far has been a problem.

A two-mile part of the project is underway along Salem Road near Enterprise. Alabama Department of Transportation Chief Engineer Don Vaughn said that then design stage was about 50 percent complete, 15 of the 45 parcels needed have been appraised, and the remaining parcels should be done within 60 days. Utility relocation would begin in 2012 with construction beginning immediately following.

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Re: Northwest Florida Road News
« Reply #69 on: February 14, 2011, 10:58:12 PM »

Better get those remaining keys shields along SRs 79, and 77, photographed before they disappear entirely! :)
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Re: Northwest Florida Road News
« Reply #70 on: March 23, 2011, 10:23:08 AM »

SR 123 flyover project is on schedule

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Crews will start building a portion of the $32.4 million flyover next week that will elevate traffic above the intersection of State Roads 85 and 123.

The long dirt ramp on the east side of SR 85 also will begin taking shape as the flyover’s southern approach.

“We’ll start putting the lime rock base in next week, and that has to go in in two (layers) … to get proper density and compaction,” said Project Administrator Mike Lenga with Greenhorne & O’Mara, the firm managing the project.

View a map of the flyover.

Paving on the ramp will begin in the next few weeks, he added.

Construction on the flyover, which is funded with federal stimulus money, began in August 2009.

“It’s going well and it’s on schedule,” said Tommie Speights, district spokesman for the state Department of Transportation. “We’re still shooting for a 2012 completion. It all depends on the weather.”

The project will widen SR 85 to six lanes between General Bond Boulevard and Northwest Florida Regional Airport. The flyover on northbound SR 85 will connect motorists to SR 123.

Access to the airport also will be improved by elevating the north and southbound lanes of SR 85 to pass above the northernmost entrance to the airport. A new frontage road will link the airport to SR 123.

“I think it is going to be an awesome asset to this area,” Lenga said. “Every time you have cars crossing each other’s paths, you have a potential for an accident. By creating this flyover, you eliminate that intersection. You’re reducing areas of conflict.”

The flyover was designed by H.W. Lochner and is being built by Anderson-Columbia.

In the next week, work will start on the two small airport exit overpass bridges, Lenga said.

“They’re mobilizing equipment now,” he said. “We just moved the northbound traffic over (to the frontage road) so we could do this.”

Crews will begin to drive test pilings into ground to determine how deep support beams must go to support the bridge.

Workers also will build a concrete gravity wall on the ramp that will take traffic off southbound SR 85 and connect it either to SR 123 or the airport, Lenga said.

The weather had been cooperative so far. When it has rained, the water hasn’t caused long-term problems.

“It’s pretty sandy out there, so the water disappears pretty quickly,” Lenga said. “All in all, it’s been great.”

His biggest concern now is keeping his workers safe. He acknowledges that construction is frustrating for motorists, but urges them to heed the speed limits.

“These guys out there working, standing next to the road, they’re not protected,” he said “They have families. If you slow down through that 2-mile, 3-mile section … you’re not taking more than 10, 15 seconds out of your day. Isn’t that worth saving a life?”

Lenga said the flyover is on schedule to wrap up sometime next spring or early summer.

“We’re hoping to finish early on the job,” he said. “We need a good summer. Once the bridge work really starts kicking off, which is going to happen next week, we’ll really start picking up.”

He said one of the biggest benefits of the flyover is increased capacity.

“We’re adding lanes, so we’re increasing capacity to get through a congested area,” Lenga said. “I think when (motorists) see the final project, they’re going to really appreciate what happened.”

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Re: Northwest Florida Road News
« Reply #71 on: March 25, 2011, 12:11:23 PM »

An upcoming resurfacing project along a portion of U.S. 98 in Okaloosa County:

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The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will hold a public information meeting Tuesday, March 29, 2011 from 5:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. in the Florosa Baptist Church fellowship hall, located at 102 Church Street in Mary Esther. The purpose of the meeting is to provide information on the upcoming US 98 resurfacing project in Okaloosa County.

The project will resurface an approximately five mile section of US 98 from Josie Road in Mary Esther west to the Santa Rosa County line. Drainage improvements, guardrail, traffic signal loop replacements, and new signs and pavement markings will also be included in the work. The project begins April 2011 and weather permitting is expected to be complete near the end of this year.

Maps, drawings and other information will be on display. FDOT representatives will be available to explain proposed improvements, provide an overview of the planned work, answer questions about the construction activities, and receive comments. There will be no formal presentation or public testimony period. Public participation is solicited without regard to race, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, disability or family status.

I certainly hope they have the brains to do this project at night, but I have a feeling that will not be the case. . .
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Alex

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Re: Northwest Florida Road News
« Reply #72 on: March 30, 2011, 11:30:19 AM »

A second article on the resurfacing project, including a link to the FDOT web site on the project (is one really necessary? it is just resurfacing!).

DOT starting $4.7 million resurfacing project on U.S. 98

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FLOROSA — Less than two months before the summer tourism season kicks off, the state Department of Transportation will start a $4.7 million resurfacing project on U.S. Highway 98.

Crews are set to scrape and pave a 5-mile stretch of the highway from Josie Road west to the Santa Rosa County line. Work is scheduled to begin in mid-April and wrap up in November.

“We’re at the bottom end of the funnel,” said Mike Sasser, a DOT consultant for the project. “Everything we’ve planned is about to come to pass.”

Sasser and other officials were on hand Tues-day at Florosa Baptist Church for a public work-shop on the project.

Several residents, many of whom live and work along that section of U.S. 98, showed up look at maps and ask questions.

“I don’t foresee any problems for us,” said Florosa Fire Chief Mark Lee.

Lee said it will help that most of the work will be done at night.

Crews from Panhandle Grading and Paving, the company doing the work, will do the bulk of the scraping and repaving between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. No lane closures will be allowed between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Charlene Franks, who has lived off U.S. 98 since 1974, will be glad to see new asphalt but said U.S. 98 needs a permanent solution to its congestion.

“The pavement is pretty rough right now,” she said. “Sometimes you think you’ve run over something when it’s just the road.”

Franks, who lives in Seashore Village, told DOT officials she wants to see the entrance to her neighborhood resurfaced and smoothed out.

Franks said she and her husband often avoid U.S. 98 between 4 and 6 p.m.

“There’s just too much traffic,” she said. “They’ve talked about six-laning it, but the businesses won’t ever let that happen. They’ve talked about a bypass up in Navarre, but that won’t really help us.”

Officials said they realize the resurfacing will collide with increased tourism traffic, but are confident overnight work will minimize most of the congestion.

“We’ll keep our eye on it,” said Bill Klepac, a senior project engineer with Genesis CE&I Services. “If we see it’s causing a significant problem, we can stop the contractor and get them off the road.”

During the work, crews will be able to close only one lane at a time and have only 2-mile segments closed at a time, Klepac said.

He said motorists must pay closer attention to reduced speed limits and construction equipment in the area.

Construction crews also will make drainage improvements, replace sections of guardrail, install new signs and update highway striping.

The DOT also has created a website —www.MyUS98.com — that will feature daily traffic and construction updates.

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Re: Northwest Florida Road News
« Reply #73 on: April 05, 2011, 10:50:18 AM »

Traffic changes scheduled for SR 85

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April 05, 2011 8:44 AM

Southbound drivers on State Road 85 will encounter a traffic shift beginning Wednesday morning.

Traffic will be detoured at the Northwest Florida Regional Airport to a newly constructed and adjacent service road. Access to the airport will be provided through a dedicated left turn lane from the service road to the airport entrance.

Directional signs will be posted to guide drivers through the construction zone.

The traffic shift will allow workers space to continue efforts to elevate the SR 85 north and southbound travel lanes in front of the Northwest Florida Regional Airport.

When the project is complete SR 85 southbound drivers will enter the Northwest Florida Regional Airport parking area via a service road and underpass.

The new entrance will separate airport traffic from through traffic to help relieve congestion and improve safety.

Construction is also being done to widen State Road 85 to six lanes from General Bond Boulevard to north of the airport.

A flyover ramp at the State Road 85 and State Road 123 intersection to allow State Road 85 northbound traffic to connect seamlessly with State Road 123 northbound will also be constructed.

The project began in the summer of 2009 and is slated for completion in mid-2012.

The speed limit in the construction zone will be reduced to 30 mph while the traffic shift is in place. Provisions will continue for law enforcement to double speeding fines for citations written while workers are present in the construction zone.

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Re: Northwest Florida Road News
« Reply #74 on: April 23, 2011, 11:48:14 AM »

Work on flyover at state roads 85 and 123 should be finished in mid-2012

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Okaloosa County officials say they are pleased with the flow of traffic around the $32.4 million flyover under construction at the intersection of State Roads 85 and 123.

“I drive through it at least once a day,” Commission Chairman James Campbell said Friday. “The traffic, it’s slowed down to hopefully the speed limit, but generally speaking, everything seems to be flowing.”

See a slideshow of the flyover work. »

Construction on the flyover, which is funded with federal stimulus money, began in August 2009. It is on track to be finished in mid-2012.

“One thing about this project is we’re not allowed to have any lane closures during the daytime,” said Ed Blackmon, senior project manager with Greenhorne & O’Mara, the firm managing the project. “All our lane closures are done at night. The DOT (state Department of Transportation) does put that restriction on the contractor.”

Blackmon and DOT officials updated commissioners on the work earlier this week.

The flyover was designed by H.W. Lochner and is being built by Anderson-Columbia.

Blackmon said project officials fly over the construction site the first of every month to take aerial photographs that are updated online at www.SR85-123.com.

The project will widen SR 85 to six lanes from General Bond Boulevard north to just past Northwest Florida Regional Airport. The flyover on northbound SR 85 will connect motorists to northbound SR 123. The north and southbound lanes of SR 85 will pass above the northernmost entrance to the airport. A new service road will link the airport to SR 123.

“There are going to be quite a few changes, different flows of traffic, that will take getting used to,” Blackmon said. “One of the main goals is to eliminate the long left turn lane if you’re going north on 85 to 123.”

Okaloosa County Administrator Jim Curry said the flyover and other changes will significantly improve safety in the area.

“That’s just been a dangerous intersection for such a long time,” Curry said. “Safety is the foremost issue.”

Campbell agreed. He noted that the merge lane from SR 123 onto southbound SR 85 has been the site of many accidents and lots of road rage.

“The ones (the flyover is) going to help the most are the ones who work on Eglin (Air Force Base) and have to use 123 as a means of coming and going,” he said. “It was a project that was dear to everybody’s heart way back even before I became a county commissioner, and finally something happened.”

Campbell said he hopes more federal money is found to improve the north end of SR 123.

“Hopefully this is a start,” he said. “That’s where the bad accidents happen. It’s not a fender bender when it happens there.”

 


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