CHIPLEY — The state transportation agency is set to unveil its annual five-year infrastructure plan Tuesday in Chipley and is looking for public feedback.
The plan has not been finalized and state officials will work through the weekend to complete the draft, said Ian Satter, spokesman, Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). It will essentially be in its final form when presented, but could be altered if FDOT hears a compelling argument.
“Public opinion is very important to the process,” saidSatter, who didn’t know how frequently feedback changes the plan.
Washington County represents just one of 16 counties included in FDOT’s District Three plan. The district stretches across the Panhandle, from Florida’s western end eastward into Jefferson County.
The public hearing will be held in Chipley, with a live feed at FDOT’s local office in Panama City.
FDOT gets feedback from the local municipalities and the county — via the Bay County Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) — throughout the year as it works to update the plan.
A new plan is generated annually, keeping the projects from the last four years and adding new ones for the fifth year. Adjustments can be made to existing projects.
The new plan will run from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2019, based on the state’s fiscal year.
Though largely a formality, the head of FDOT must sign off on the plan and the Florida Legislature must approve it during the 2014 session.
The county has not seen the draft, but is hoping the widening of State 390 between 23rd Street and State 77 will be included in the plan, said Keith Bryant, county traffic engineering manager. The two-lane road, which runs in and around northern Panama City, road is consistently congested during rush hour.
“The TPO would love to see it in the work plan,” Bryant said.
In Bay County, funding a bridge over Laird Bayou on County 2297 in Allanton is another top priority, Bryant said. A causeway supported by box culverts acts as a bridge currently, but it’s ineffective. The road leads out to the Eastern Shipbuilding yard and gets plenty of semi-truck traffic.
The county already paid for design work for a new bridge and wants to see construction dollars in the plan, Bryant said. The county also wants money to put another layer of asphalt on Star Avenue between U.S. 231 and State 22. The asphalt, technically called a “friction course,” would provide a better surface for tires, he said.
The county’s top project in the plan already is the U.S. 98 flyover, which will elevate the road over the traffic jam-inducing 23rd Street intersection. The project is set to finish in 2015.
The meeting will be at 8 a.m. at the FDOT District Three office at 1074 U.S. 90 in Chipley. The Bay County portion will begin at 10:30 a.m. A live feed will be broadcast at the local FDOT office at 3633 State 390 in Panama City.
-8 a.m. Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and Walton counties
-10:30 a.m. Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, and Washington counties
-1:30 p.m. Franklin, Gadsden, Jefferson, Liberty, Leon and Wakulla counties
Live feed locations:
-FDOT Midway Operations Center Conference Room, 17 Commerce Blvd, Midway
-FDOT Milton Operations Center Conference Room, 6025 Old Bagdad Highway, Milton
-FDOT Panama Operations Center Conference Room, 3633 Highway 390, Panama City
-FDOT Ponce de Leon Operations Center Conference Room, 1723 Sunrise Circle, Ponce de Leon