Based on the tentative Department of Transportation (DOT) five-year plan, the state will not resurface US 98 between Carrabelle and Eastpoint in the foreseeable future.
At the Aug. 19 county commission meeting, Keith McCarron, senior planner for the Apalachee Regional Planning Council (ARPC) said other sections would be resurfaced over the next three years.
A little under a mile of US 98 between
Commissioners expressed disappointment and concern that the stretch of state highway between Eastpoint and Carrabelle has been passed over for repair.
“That road’s the pits,” said Commissioner Pinki Jackel. “A lot of other areas have alternative roads. We do not. We have school buses on that road. Apparently, we don’t have the right lobby to get that road paved on our behalf.”
McCarron said DOT does annual “rut, ride and crack” surveys of state roads, with highways slated for resurfacing when they are rated 6.5 or less on a scale of one to 10. He said the section of US 98 in question is “approaching 6.5. It probably won’t be this year, but the time is coming.”
McCarron said the pavement on the westbound lane is older than the eastbound, and that when the westbound lane was deemed substandard, the state would probably repave the entire road. He said the state is trying to optimize the life of the current paving project and that the average life of a paved road is 14 years.
Commissioner Noah Lockley said DOT was not taking into consideration the fact that US 98 carries all east-west traffic in the county.
“It wasn’t sufficiently put back in 2005 when Hurricane Dennis came through,” said Chairman Cheryl Sanders. “They only came in and patched it. We’ve (dealt with the problem for) years. Something needs to be done with that road. It’s on the scenic byway so it should be up to par. The worst section is from the school to Yent Bayou. Somebody’s already been killed but there will be more if the road don’t get fixed.”
McCarron said, because US 98 is a state road, ARPC only continues to express concerns about safety.
Jackel asked why the county is only in line for a single state road project after 2016. In 2018, the state has allotted $377,000 to construct a bike path from the St. George Island Bridge to US 98. In 2015, $76,000 has been allotted for planning and engineering of the path.
McCarron said the lack of state road maintenance projects was unusual. “You don’t have that many state roads,” he said.
McCarron said the work schedule is dynamic and projects may be added after annual surface evaluations are reviewed. He said that while projects listed for the first three years are very likely to be completed, work scheduled for years four and five is much more subject to change.
Three more bike paths are mentioned in the five-year work plan.
Allotted in 2015 is $1,000 for planning a bike path from Carrabelle Beach Park to River Road just west of the Tillie Miller Bridge; and $2,000 for planning and engineering a bike path to run 4.2 miles between Alligator Point Marina and Gulf Shore Boulevard on Alligator Point. A fourth path is planned between County Road 65 and
More than $7 million has been allocated to maintenance and improvement of the airports in
Next year, the state will spend $1.5 million to improve stormwater abatement at Cleve Randolph Field and $265,000 to rehabilitate runway 18/36. An additional $200,000 will be spent on the project in 2016 and $662,000 in 2017. In 2018, $306,000 will be spent on runway 06/24.
In 2019, $3 million is earmarked for repaving at
Thompson Field in Carrabelle is scheduled to receive $697,000 over the next four years. Next year, $182,000 is earmarked to extend the runway. In 2016, $90,000 is earmarked for a GPS survey of the airport. In 2017, $215,000 is slated to construct a parking apron and in 2018, $210,000 is earmarked to update the security fence.
Other proposed projects include the repair of two bridges on state roads. In 2015, $2,000 will be spent on
Carrabelle will get some new sidewalks in 2017-18. A paved walkway will be constructed along
Next year, the DOT has earmarked $195,000 to resurface