By DOTTY NIST
Changes are coming to an intersection in Seagrove Beach. On Aug. 30, county commissioners approved improvements for the busy CR-395/CR-30A intersection which will include a roundabout. The intersection is currently a three-way stop.
The $1.1+ million proposal was approved at the Aug. 30 Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) meeting, which took place at the Walton County Courthouse in DeFuniak Springs.
Improvement of the intersection either with a traffic signal or with a roundabout had been under discussion by commissioners as far back as 2005 or earlier. In October 2008, the county held a workshop at which evaluations by two engineering firms on options for resolving issues with the intersection were presented.
Some of the issues had included complaints from motorists about excessive delays at the intersection and long lines of cars waiting to traverse, along with safety concerns.
The options of a traffic light and turn lanes or the construction of a roundabout at the intersection were highlighted due to their potential for handling the amount of traffic traversing the intersection. Pointed out was the advantage of a roundabout being usable immediately in the wake of a hurricane or storm.
No action on either proposal was taken at that time, although county staff were directed to discuss the options with owners of property bordering the intersection.
There was little discussion of the roundabout project at the Aug. 30 BCC meeting when the commissioners unanimously approved moving forward with the plan, and no one came forward to provide public comment.
Approved subsequent to the project was the setting of a public hearing, to be held in conjunction with the Sept. 11 BCC meeting, for approval to transfer $1.1+ million from the CR-30A proportional fair share account for funding of the project. Also approved was a $78,000 proposal by Preble-Rish for engineering and inspection services on the project, contingent on transfer of the proportional fair share funds.
According to written information provided as part of the engineering/inspection proposal: the project area will extend 230 feet west, 230 feet north and 1000 feet east of the intersection; pedestrian facilities will be designed outside the improvements within that project area; acquistion of property on the northeast side of the intersection will be necessary for the proposed roundabout design; and final design of the improvements is scheduled for completion by Dec. 31, 2012.