BCC hears traffic improvement proposal

By Wesley LeBlanc
Posted 9/12/18

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The intersection of Henley Road and County Road 220 will one day be drastically different if the Board of County Commissioners approves a recommendation from the Florida …

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BCC hears traffic improvement proposal

Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The intersection of Henley Road and County Road 220 will one day be drastically different if the Board of County Commissioners approves a recommendation from the Florida Department of Transportation.

During the Sept. 11 BCC regular meeting, Clay County Engineering and Public Works Director Dale Smith presented a change that if implemented, would see the intersection of Henley Road and CR 220 maintain its current design based on 2040 projections. County Commissioner Wayne Bolla joked that some of the BCC will be dead before then.

A recent study determined that even with planned upcoming improvements to the intersection, the year 2040 growth rate projections will result in the equivalent of the intersection getting a failing grade from the state for its inability to handle traffic smoothly and safely.

“FDOT looked at what we had and the intersection, which was the typical intersection that you would propose, has this nice four-lane road coming down to an intersection winding out to get in this turn lane and things like that, and all we were doing was getting there faster but not getting through the intersection,” Smith said. “It was going to be a failing intersection in 2045.”

Smith said FDOT is proposing an entirely new concept for the future intersection, called a quadrant intersection.

“I sat through the first half of the meeting with my arms crossed thinking this will never work, but by the time they spent an hour showing this and discussing this...it’s the only thing that will really help out the intersection,” Smith said.

A quadrant intersection involves a one-way road that diverts cars going east to get on to Henley Road to completely bypass the light at that intersection. This one-way road would take drivers behind the gas station on Henley Road to a right turn, or left turn, to actually get on Henley Road.

“The problem that you have is currently, today, it’s a four-phase signal...which means you stop each side to let one quadrant go, the next quadrant, the next quadrant and that’s why everything backs up as long as it does,” Smith said. “What [the quadrant intersection] will do is you’ll have an intersection at Henley without any turn lanes. You’ll actually have to come down 220 – this is the quadrant portion of it – and it’ll bring you back to Henley when you go north and south. It’s sort of an unusual design in that you’re adding a traffic light to improve traffic going through the intersection.”

Some BCC members found it unusual too, to the point where before taking FDOT up on its recommendation, they wished to see this concept in action.

“I understand the concept, but I’d like to see it in action and actually working,” County Commissioner Mike Cella said.

County Manager Stephanie Kopelousos said she would get the FDOT and their consultant to get the BCC some examples of a quadrant intersection working in real life. The proposal will come up in future BCC meetings as no action was taken on the issue.

In other business, the BCC came to a consensus to put $400,000 that would go to the Clay County Council on Aging as part of that agency’s 2018-19 tentative budget into the budget reserves.

Their reasoning for this stems back to their months-long saga with the Council on Aging. Not only does the Council on Aging owe the BCC money, which they have, after a considerable amount of time, finally started paying back, they have failed to provide the BCC with an action plan on fixing the problems the BCC has with their transportation services. When the Council on Aging does provide the fixes the BCC wants, the money from the reserves will be placed in the Council on Aging’s budget, although the BCC is unsure if the Council on Aging needs the full $400,000.

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