Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

DOT Officials Asked to Consider Clay Upgrades

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

DOT Officials Asked to Consider Clay Upgrades

Article excerpt

ORANGE PARK -- A bypass around Green Cove Springs should be

included in the Florida Department of Transportation's

long-range plans for area road improvements, a Clay County

resident told DOT officials.

At a public hearing Wednesday on the agency's five-year work

program for its Northeast Florida district, residents and local

officials also asked the DOT to move up construction on the

planned expansion of Green Cove Springs' city pier, re-evaluate

the timing of U.S. 17 traffic signals in Orange Park and

consider a connector between Wells Road and Collins Road in

Duval County, among other things.

DOT District Secretary Ken Morefield said agency officials

"take into account" such comments made at public hearings.

"Not all comments can be incorporated into the program, but we

try to do our best," he said.

The resident who suggested the bypass was Don Bowles, who lives

north of Green Cove Springs and is a former county planning

director and school district official.

He said U.S. 17 is "becoming very congested" in the Green Cove

Springs area, particularly north of the city limits and within

the city. The Clay County section of the highway is frequently

choked with drivers, from the Duval County line to Green Cove

Springs.

A beltway connecting U.S. 17 north of Green Cove Springs to

Bowles said. An increasing number of people are using County

Road 315, which also connects U.S. 17 and Florida 16, as a

bypass and that might force county officials to consider

widening the county road from two to four lanes, he said.

But he said construction of a new road -- possibly running

parallel to County Road 315 -- was preferable over widening

County Road 315. The existing road, he said, was not designed as

a bypass or to handle heavy amounts of traffic and transforming

it into a bypass would not be safe for residents who live along

the highway.

Also, Bowles asked the agency to install a traffic signal at

U. …

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