Leon County approved Silver Lake Road improvements, Lake Munson draw down

Leon County approved Silver Lake Road improvements, Lake Munson draw down.
Leon County approved Silver Lake Road improvements, Lake Munson draw down.(WCTV)
Published: Oct. 11, 2022 at 7:35 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Leon County commissioners accepted a proposed $87,855 thousand in funding from the Florida Department of Transportation for renovations to Silver Lake Road Tuesday.

FDOT’s plan for the road includes speed limit sign installations in one of the more rural areas of the county, refurbished pavement markings and adding raised pavement markings.

Silver Lake Road from NFR-358 to SR 20 Blountstown Highway is a 3.19 mile two-lane paved county road with a speed limit for 40 mph.

The project will also add feedback radar speed limit signs to the road as well as other enhancements fixing a kink in the roadway configuration, existing sign enhancements and intersection improvements.

The county will begin advertising construction bids in early 2023 with completion of the project expected to be finished by October 2023.

The county said that Silver Lake Road will remain open during the construction with intermittent lane closures during the day.

The county also heard a quality status report on Lake Munson unanimously approving an immediate drawdown of the lake starting Nov. 1.

Commissioners heard from several groups and speakers about the drawdown and the positive impacts such a move could have on algal blooms in the lake.

Speakers pointed to occurrences of fish kills associated with ongoing algal blooms, sediment contamination and depressed oxygen levels in the shallow man-made lake.

Speakers with the county public works department told commissioners that a drawdown will kill hydrilla, an invasive species of plant, and algae on the lake bottom by forming a “cap” on the underlying sediment and reducing the nutrients leaving the sediment becoming airborne in the water.

A speaker with the county public works department said a drawdown of the lake levels will allow the sediment to harden over the lake bottom over a three to five month period. It would start by opening the gate on the Lake Munson dam to allow more water out than is flowing into the lake.

When the lake refills the invasive plants will be dead and replaced by the aquatic vegetation that grows in the bank of the river.

The county will also undergo an enhanced water quality study in four location ahead of the drawdown of the lake, as well as flyover topography surveys to allow for better sediment condition testing.

The drawdown plans and treatment for the lake are estimated to cost $130 thousand in fiscal year 2023 and annual recurring costs for fiscal year 2024 will be included in the Public Works operating budget.

When the lake is refilled the county will follow an enhanced vegetation management program, frequently treating smaller areas for invasive species.

The lake will then undergo a drawdown every five to ten years, or more frequent if necessary.

County staff will continue to provide water quality reports to the science advisory committee and following the drawdown will bring back status reports every two years to study the impact on the body of water.