Bike paths, better runways in county’s future

This portion of US 98 between Eastpoint in Carrabelle is not scheduled for an upgrade over the next Photo available for purchase

This portion of US 98 between Eastpoint in Carrabelle is not scheduled for an upgrade over the next five years, despite multiple visible problems on the much-used stretch of highway.

Lois Swoboda
Published: Wednesday, September 3, 2014 at 03:15 PM.

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 12th Street and the John Gorrie Bridge will be paved in 2015 at an approximate cost of $950,000. Nearly six miles between the Gulf County line and Tilton Road are scheduled for resurfacing in 2016 at a cost of about $3 million.

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.

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