I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

We Need a Decider!

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.


Anonymous said...

What about those trying to get on in, in the mornings, as well as those of us who live in Beulah trying to get home. This is a good idea for the evening but dies nothing to address the morning!

Tom Verge said...

Here’s a plan. Build the road across the old county owned Beulah land fill. Connect it to nfcu by an overpass. Dump traffic onto Mobile hwy wilt overpass and ramps. California rebuilt a stretch of interstate in 6 months. Nothing to hinder building a road across an open field and a couple of overpasses. With the right incentives, 6 months tops.

Anonymous said...

Putting the exit directly behind NFCU is a no brainer.
Tunnel is a dumb idea.

Has my support.

Anonymous said...

Well there is a shift change in the morning too so it will have some positive effect by clearing some outbound traffic off of 9 mile.

Escambia voter said...

Who is considering the $64 million tunnel? If the Navy Fed exit decision is at the federal level, what agency, what department, and who specifically has the decision-making power? Who is the lowest level decision maker who can allow an exception?

Anonymous said...

Alabama could do it in a month.....

Anonymous said...

It would be amazing if you can get this pushed through the Feds. Make everyone a believer. Plus if you get the law changed for the blue penny plan to fund law enforcement would be impressive. I'd like to see you make it happen.