Safety improvements on the way for Apalachee, Magnolia intersection

Published: May. 14, 2018 at 5:25 PM EDT
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By: Mariel Carbone | WCTV Eyewitness News

May 14, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Safety improvements are on the way for a busy intersection in Tallahassee.

The Florida Department of Transportation is planning to add enhancements to the intersection of Magnolia Drive and Apalachee Parkway. Local leaders will hear an update on the project at Tuesday's Capital Region Transportation Planning Agency meeting.

The safety upgrades come as a result of an FDOT safety study. According to that study, 111 crashes happened at that intersection between 2009 and 2013. Although none of them involved pedestrians, many drivers said the dangers exist there.

"I know for me personally, I wouldn't walk out there," said Zack Latham, who shops at the New Leaf Market located at the intersection.

Latham noted that the intersection can be confusing because service lanes are used for right turn lanes, as opposed to having a designated right turn lane. He said the intersection is "quirky."

"In Tallahassee, it's like you almost have to memorize where all the turns are and where they're not going to be," said Latham.

Others said it is unsafe for teenagers who may be walking to school or work.

"It's not pedestrian friendly for a four way intersection. I think only one or two ways even allow you to cross and then illegal right turns off Apalachee for folks who don't understand the service drive," said Tallahassee resident Kyra Stephens.

FDOT agrees.

That's why safety upgrades are being done on the area. The upgrades are being looped in with a resurfacing project that was already set to happen on Magnolia Drive between Apalachee and Seventh Avenue.

Safety enhancements will include a new crosswalk on the east side of Apalachee, better lighting to help make pedestrians more visible and relocating right turns off of the service road and onto Apalachee Parkway.

The changes are a welcomed upgrade for some frequent drivers.

"With all the different lanes of traffic coming in all different directions, any kind of enhancements will help," said Eric Whitehead, who drives through the intersection often.

Construction on the project will begin in January and wrap up in September of 2019.

The resurfacing portion of the project is expected to cost about $2.5 million. While the safety improvements will cost an additional $685,000.