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Pace's Woodbine, West Spencer Field roads to be studied

Ulrike Leonea

Drivers on two of the busiest roads in central Santa Rosa County will be getting some help to reduce traffic congestion.

On Tuesday, Santa Rosa County commissioners began addressing traffic on Woodbine Road by approving a five-year, $2 million contract with Mott MacDonald for engineering design and professional services, including four-laning the busy, north-south road that ends at U.S. 90. It will take several years to complete, county officials said.

District 3 Commissioner James Calkins said residents have been asking for road improvements throughout the county. “I’m excited to solve the problem,” he said.

Milton resident Jerry Couey questioned the price tag. “That seems like an awful big number,” Couey told commissioners, adding that at $85 an hour, Mott MacDonald would have to spend 23,000 hours on the project.

Commissioners also began to look at West Spencer Field Road in the Pace community. It’s a well-traveled, two-lane road that connects Berryhill Road to U.S. 90, the main east-west thoroughfare through Santa Rosa and Escambia counties. Recent subdivisions have added hundreds of cars to the road, where the speed limit is 35 mph much of the way.

Commissioners agreed to spend $208,000 for American Consulting Engineers to design Improvements for $200,000 and the option to provide property acquisition of $ 8,000. The item had also been approved at the commission’s Sept. 28 meeting.

In addressing another hot-button issue in the county, stormwater runoff and drainage, commissioners Ok’d amending the county budget to spend $315,050 for Baskerville Donovan to continue to design improvements along Woodbine Road and Chumuckla Highway. For years, residents in that area and elsewhere across the county have asked commissioners to address flooding and stormwater runoff.

In other action, commissioners:

  • Agreed to be a co-applicant with the city of Milton requesting $8 million from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration for construction of the new Waste Water Treatment Facility. Milton officials and county staff said because the project is on county-owned land, the EDA requires that Santa Rosa County be a co-applicant.
  • Approved additional improvements along the Blackwater Heritage State Trail. The work includes “the installation of a waterless restroom, 16 benches, a water bottle filling station and water fountain, and stabilization along the trail,” the agenda item explained. The cost of the project was paid through a grant from money given to the county following the 2010 oil spill. “All improvements planned under this grant are expected to be completed by the end of this year,” the agenda item said.
  • Recognized the $6 million grant award from the U.S. Treasury Office of Gulf Coast Restoration for the Tiger Point Wastewater Treatment and Reclamation Facility Expansion project. The money was approved at the Sept. 28 meeting.
  • Agreed to provide on-site, free, flu vaccinations to employees each year. Walgreens will perform the vaccinations.
  • Approved the following event requests: Navarre Krewe of Jesters' request to use a portion of the Navarre Park parking lot for their annual Christmas with the Krewe on Dec. 18 from 5 to 8 p.m.; and Risen Savior Lutheran Church's request to use a portion of Navarre Park for their Worship in the Park scheduled for Oct. 31 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Authorized $7,108 to replace the flooring in the 4-H Building on Dogwood Drive in Milton for $4,588 and the auditorium kitchen for $2,250.
Tom Ninestine is the managing editor at WUWF. He began August 1, 2019. Tom is a native of Geneva, New York, and a 1983 graduate of King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, where he studied journalism and political science. During a 29-year career in newspapers he worked for the Finger Lakes Times in his hometown; The Daily Item in Sunbury, Pennsylvania; and the Pensacola News Journal from 1998-2016.