Shoring up Alligator Point looks to be one of the first places the county plans to spend the first installment of RESTORE monies.
At the May 2 county meeting RESTORE Coordinator Alan Pierce told commissioners the state has refused to accept ownership of Alligator Point Road, a county road washed out last fall during Hurricane Hermine.
Commission Chair Smokey Parrish said the county must develop a plan to permanently repair and stabilize the washed-out section of the road because funding sources outside the county are diminishing, and the county is obligated to provide access to taxpaying Alligator Point businesses and homeowners.
The county plans are to pave a 12-foot wide, 1100-foot stretch of road from George Vause to Tom Roberts at a cost of $20,000 as a stop gap measure. The temporary repairs will have to be removed when final repairs to the road are made.
Pierce said the county might receive a FEMA reimbursement for the temporary road work. He said he believed it would be nine to 12 months before a contractor could begin temporary repairs.
He said the temporary repairs are necessary because during high season, March to September, 1,000 cars a day use Alligator Point Road to access beaches, with nearly 800 rental properties on Alligator Point.
“The dust is pretty overwhelming right now. Several households have complained,” Pierce said. He said the county would leave temporary stop lights installed in February in place.
District 2 Commissioner Cheryl Sanders said she favored the temporary fix but wanted to be sure the sheriff’s office was on board to monitor speed on the paved road.
Parrish said he too feared drivers would increase their pace once the road had a hard surface. Alligator Point Taxpayers Association (APTA) board member Allan Feifer suggested the county investigate the cost of Portland cement on top of aggregate as a cheaper paving material than asphalt for the temporary surfacing.
Pierce said he was concerned the roadbed did not have enough depth to support cement surfacing.
He said the county should do shoreline protection in the form of an expanded beach for a mile along the road, beginning at the old KOA Campground, before making permanent repairs on Alligator Point road. He estimated the cost at $8 million.
Pierce said the county might be able to get a 50 / 50 matching grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to do the shoreline stabilization. He said the first payment of $4 million in RESTORE money, expected to reach the county in 2019, could be used for the match.
The county ultimately hopes to receive $23 million in RESTORE funding over a 15-year period.
Pierce said in order for the suggested repairs to be effective, the county must secure a source of maintenance funding for the right of way, and suggested Alligator Point homeowners could be charged an annual fee to pay for maintenance.
Pierce said the county’s window to accept or reject the stabilization plan is May 15 to July 15 because there is a deadline for RESTORE proposals. He said the July 15 deadline was imposed by him, rather than the federal government, and that deadline could be extended.
He said that he would attend a meeting of APTA this Saturday, May 13 to discuss the annual use fee and road maintenance with Alligator Point residents.
Sanders asked him to return to the May 16 county meeting with more information including estimated cost from county consulting engineer Mike Dombrowski.
Commissioner Noah Lockley asked Pierce to do an analysis to compare the cost of beach renourishment with constructing a bridge for the impacted stretch of road.