Old Dixie project to begin in October
Road widening on Old Dixie Highway will start in October.
Expected to start as early as August, the project was delayed pending the results of a Cultural Resources Reconnaissance Survey, according to Interim County Engineer Robert T. Companion.
Because the area along Old Dixie Highway is centuries old, surveyors looked for historical pavers or other items of significance underneath the asphalt, but the survey did not yield any findings. The Florida Department of Transportation project – expected to cost a bit more than $10 million – should begin in October.
“Roughly 7.75 miles from Bypass to Henry Smith Road will be resurfaced and widened,” Companion wrote via email July 29. “It will take about a year to complete and should be finished no later than December 2020.”
Resident Elizabeth Ostrander voiced concern about the road’s condition. Several areas along the highway are in disrepair and are filled with holes and also cracked. The road is patched when necessary to help alleviate potholes.
“Patching is temporary,” Companion wrote. “Sometimes the patches only last a month. We perform temporary patches as needed to mitigate any safety issues and property damage.”
Ostrander is also concerned about children’s safety as they wait for the school bus.
“You come down here after school starts, and the parents have to stay with their kids because there’s no place for them (to stand),” she said.
Ostrander said the road is narrow and leaves little room along the side of the road. She would like to see sidewalks installed after the road construction is completed.
Companion said that adding sidewalks isn’t possible without additional help.
“To add sidewalks, we would need additional rights-of-way,” Companion wrote. “We could gain that through donation or through purchasing the rights-of-way from citizens. There is no plan at the moment to add sidewalks or acquire property for that purpose.”
Angela Wells-Coleman recalled how she felt the first time she drove on the highway at night while she was on her way home from visiting a friend.
“It was frightening,” Wells-Coleman said. “It was very narrow.”
Now that the project is soon underway, Ostrander expressed optimism road conditions would improve.
“If they’re going to widen it, maybe we’ll be a little safer,” she said.