|What is better, 4-year construction of a $64 Million Dollar Tunnel, or 4 Months and an immediate, (relatively) inexpensive 100 foot road?|
In order to cut through red tape, sometimes one needs to get to a decider who can come off his/her script, use common sense, and make a smart decision.
In Escambia County, we have a situation brewing that desperately needs a decider, at the Federal level, to intervene.
This is about jobs, growth, and infrastructure--and millions of dollars are on the line.
Everyone knows that the exponential growth of Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU) in Beulah over the last several years was a good thing. Everyone knows having the largest Credit Union in the World locate a second headquarters here is a good thing. All 6,200 Pensacola employees that work at NFCU presently know that having NFCU in Pensacola is a good thing. It’s all good!
But the growth is straining the infrastructure and even though NFCU’s campus is a mere 1 mile from the interstate—traffic still backs up into and out of Beulah morning, noon, and night.
I’m told by high-level sources within NFCU that it takes employees as long as 20 minutes to get out of the parking structure and onto 9-Mile road in the afternoons—due to the traffic congestion on the only way in and out.
This situation is straining morale for the workers and the nearby residents that also deal with this problem daily.
In a year and a half, the four-lane expansion of 9-Mile Road will be complete and will help with the congestion going in and out of Beulah..
In 7-10 years, the Beulah Interchange will help significantly.
In the meantime, though, a second exit out the back of the NFCU property could easily be built. And it would help immediately and immensely.
It’s literally about a hundred feet from the end of Navy Federal Way to the out-going lane of the visitor’s center off of Interstate 10. (see picture above)
A one-lane, egress-only road out the back of NFCU and into the visitor’s center exit ramp (100 feet) could be built quickly and (relatively) inexpensively.
Congressman Matt Gaetz and Governor Rick Scott have been engaged in this effort. Mayor Ashton
Hayward has engaged in this effort. People are trying to make this happen.
Unfortunately— this initiative is being stymied at the Federal Level.
Apparently, because the distance between this potentially new exit and the existing exit 5 (Hwy 90) is less than a mile, this is disallowed. There must be at least One (1) Mile between exits according to the “rules.” (The distance between the visitor’s center and exit 5 is about .95 Mile)
So this technicality is what is killing this initiative….
|Escambia County needs a Federal-Level Decider to cut|
the red tape surrounding a potential NFCU back exit..
Why can’t we get a waiver, though? Why can’t we get a decider to look at the overall big picture and intervene?
People are now shrugging their collective shoulders and looking for other options…
Digging a tunnel under 9-Mile road at the NFCU East exit to allow cars to go under 9 Mile road and get directly onto the interstate is now the "new" initiative.
This is really being seriously considered. It would take four years minimum and would cost upwards of $64 Million dollars-- but this is being discussed. [Full disclosure: I have serious reservations for numerous good reasons about building a tunnel under 9 Mile Road……]
So something intelligent needs to happen and fast, or the planned expansion by NFCU to 10,000 jobs might be jeopardized. (e.g. those additional 3,800 jobs could go somewhere other than Pensacola).
This would be an unmitigated disaster.
We must prevent this loss by finding a decider with the guts to make the smart call.
We need this decider’s intervention yesterday.