|Cow Pen Road paving to begin in 2-3 months|
|The Press - News|
|Written by Joel Addington|
|Thursday, 01 September 2011 09:45|
Three years ago, Olu Oyewole stood before the Baker County Commission asking for help.
Tropical Storm Fay had recently flooded the dirt roads around his home near the northern end of Cow Pen Road, making them impassable. He works for the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice in Tallahassee and feared what could happen if a storm effectively cut him off from his wife and three children during an emergency.
Now, work has begun to pave the roughly 2.7-mile stretch of Cow Pen Road from US 90 north to Tennessee Street.
“I hope they hurry up and finish,” Mr. Oyewole said this week.
Drainage improvements are nearing completion and the new road’s base layer is about halfway complete.
Robert Fletcher, the county’s road department director, said 1.5 inches of asphalt should go down within the next three months.“They are doing a great job,” Mr. Oyewole said. “They’re actually widening the road and digging larger ditches. Even if there is a lot of rain, we won’t have to worry about flooding.”
Given the road’s naturally low elevation, the drainage upgrades had to be engineered and permitted.
“Now our biggest thing is if we can get it in before a major storm and get the grass in and growing before it’s washed away,” said Mr. Fletcher. “Eight or 10 inches is what kills us. The little ones don’t hurt us. We’ve actually had real good weather the last couple of months.”
He added that a bid package compiled for the asphalt contract is awaiting approval from the state’s Department of Community Affairs, or DCA, which is overseeing a large portion of the $560,000 project’s funding.
The county secured funding for the new road in late 2009 by combining about $213,000 the county received from CSX railroad in 2001 for the closing of two crossings in Olustee and Sanderson with a one-time, disaster recovery grant of $395,000 from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant, or CDBG, program in 2010.
DCA administers the CDBG program at the state level. The project must be complete by June 2012 to meet the latter grant’s requirements.
Mr. Oyewole said he and his neighbors are grateful for the paving project, even if it increases speeding on the 35 mph roadway.
“People drive fast on Cow Pen now, anyway,” he said. “When they come to the sharp turn to the right, people fly through there. I just worry there will be accidents there unless they take some precautions.”
The Cow Pen Road project and the resurfacing of George Taber Boulevard in Glen St. Mary will cap off a number of grant-funded road improvements around the county this year.
Mr. Fletcher said the Woodlawn Road widening and resurfacing would be finished by the end of August. It followed similar projects on Mud Lake Road, Lowder Street and US 90.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 01 September 2011 14:38|