Alligator Drive repair project delayed, expected to finish in September
FRANKLIN COUNTY, Fla. (WCTV) - For decades, Franklin County has been repairing and protecting Alligator Drive from washing away.
Now, a $5.2 million project that began in Dec. 2021 is almost finished.
The original deadline for the project was July 23, but Franklin County Commissioner Bert Boldt told WCTV Tuesday the construction company asked for an extension. Now, the project has a completion date slated for September.
Phase one of protecting the water side of Alligator Drive is complete. Now, phase two is now underway on the north side.
“They’re going to be driving vinyl sheet piling into the ground to protect the landward side of the road,” Boldt said. “Then there’ll be sidewalks, landscapes, asphalt on the entire top of the road.”
About three weeks ago, the road went down to one-way traffic due to the construction. Resident Penny McIntosh said it’s a minor inconvenience.
“Maybe it’ll get 10 cars backed up. It never reaches our house,” McIntosh said. “it’s probably a three to five-minute wait. But I tell you, this is going to be so worth it. I’m very excited.”
Richard Keyton said dust has been a major issue. He lives on the west end of the drive, and he thinks construction won’t be done anytime soon.
“July 23 of next year maybe,” Keyton said. “They’ve already told us personally, the road guys that is, it’s at least three months away.”
Keyton and some other homeowners have also lost their beach access due to the new rock wall.
“Now we have what looks like a rock quarry. There’s no way to get to the water. We have a lot of neighbors that use our yard for access to the water,” he said. “Sooner or later, someone is going to get hurt climbing over the rocks.”
Keyton is asking the county to add water access to Alligator Drive’s west end. In his view, this would keep neighbors safe and eliminate homeowners using the already limited public beach parking.
Boldt said he’s working on that issue, and ultimately, FEMA decided to repair the road on the beach.
“FEMA said repair where it is. FEMA would not allow us to move the road back,” Boldt said. “So we took the money and did what you see, and we have a preserved road now where we can make a permanent repair.”
Boldt said he’s proud of the construction progress so far, despite the supply chain issues, weather and staff shortages that have delayed the project’s completion.
He is reminding drivers to move slowly and obey new traffic patterns in the area.
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