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.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Getting to the Best Solution, Part I: Who Said "NO?"

Sometimes getting to the best solution to a complex problem is agonizing and tedious.  Sometimes it is excruciating and exasperating.  We are dealing with just such a complex issue, a traffic issue, right now in District 1.

When I heard late last month that suddenly the common-sense initiative to allow egress out of Navy Federal Credit Union's north end property, via a new access to I-10 through the Florida welcome center, was rejected--I naturally wanted to know why.  Several people intimately familiar with this project told me point blank:  It's the FEDS.  It is Federal Highway.

So late last month I wrote this blog post that subsequently made its way onto another site and a  TV story came out and a newspaper article about this issue was published in the PNJ on January 4th.  The statement was simple--we need a decider, at the Federal Level, who can look at this issue and make the smart call to alleviate the tremendous traffic issue currently happening in my district affecting residents of Beulah and employees of Navy Federal Credit Union.  And the PNJ article said the FEDS had approved of the back exit plan!

But now I have learned something interesting...Someone has once again said no--even though I now have proof The FEDS said Yes!  So now I ask---Who said NO?!?

According to Congressman Matt Gaetz's office--four specific options have been cleared by Federal Department of Transportation for implementation locally by the Florida Department of Transportation to address this issue.  His office has communicated to me that they do not want to be seen as favoring one solution over others--but rather wanted to help accommodate the locally chosen solution of the four by obtaining clearance from FED DOT, in advance, of any one or more of the following four options which are all still approved at the FED DOT level as of January 2018 per an email of which I am now in receipt.  The current, Federally approved (OST, DOT) list of potential solutions are the following:

1.     Navy Federal Credit Union would donate Navy Federal Drive to become a public road.  Connect this road with a new I-10 interstate access.  This option may require a collector/distributor lane with the eastbound traffic from the welcome center and the Nine Mile Road interchange.

2.     Constructing a new roadway between the West End of the NFCU facility and Frank Reeder Road, and constructing a new interchange with I-10 at the Beulah Road area. The construction of the new roadway will provide NFCU access to the new I-10 interchange through Frank Reeder Road and Beulah Road.  This will provide NFCU access to the west, north, west and east in the area.
3.     Constructing a left exit flyover from Navy Federal Way onto Nine Mile Road to improve access from NFCU to the Nine Mile Road and I-10 existing interchange.
4.     Intersection operational improvements along Nine Mile Road (i.e. signal timing, roundabouts, turn lanes) and making general improvements to the on and off ramps at the Nine Mile Road and I-10 existing interchange to meet vehicular demand.

Obviously--option 1 is the least disruptive (to current 9-mile road traffic), most fiscally sound, most expeditious, and most practical approach to solving the issue and disbursing traffic between two exits.

But Florida officials have stated unequivocally that the FEDS have rejected option 1, while the FEDS have sent me proof that no, they still view option 1 above as one of the four approved, potential solutions from which Florida and local officials can choose to alleviate the traffic issue.

So now I want to know all the information.  Who said no, precisely?  I will have a meeting tomorrow with representatives of NFCU, and in the meantime I am actively pursuing information about who and what department has said no to the back exit option (option 1 above) that the FEDS have apparently approved?  Who Said NO?


Escambia voter said...

Thanks for being the champion on this issue, which is important to residents as well as Navy Federal employees. Option 1 would be a great help for the evening rush hour, and that seems to be the worst congestion time. In the short run, I would welcome it. But it will not help with the morning rush getting to Navy Federal. So if there is a way to improve the morning traffic flow west from I-10, that would be good, too.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure you will get to bottom of this. FDOT is bureaucracy at its finest. I bet you will not let it go until you find a solution. Fun to watch you work.

Billy Gandy said...

Can you publish what you have from the federal government saying the interchange is approved?

Anonymous said...

A letter is posted on f/b with the name and something about an eight point criteria. James Christian PE letter from 2016. You don't have to post this comment it is FYI.

Anonymous said...

Link about 8 point criteria for you

Anonymous said...

James Christian 850-553-2202 from the 2016 letter and Google search for the staff, perhaps that will help. Good luck!

Joe C said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Option 1 least disruptive to community. Option 2 most disruptive to community.