FDOT holds community meeting about plan for major changes to US Highway 19 in Chiefland
CHIEFLAND, Fla. (WCJB) - Florida Department of Transportation workers once again have their sights set on Levy County. FDOT held a meeting to get input from Levy County residents about a plan for major upgrades to US Highway 19 on Tuesday.
They are in the first stage of a project to speed up traffic on US Highway 19 from Citrus County to Chiefland.
“It’s looking at US 19 and how to try and create more free flow conditions for the motoring public,” Communications Manager Tracy Hisler-Pace said. “We want to hear what the citizens have to say and what they want and what they don’t want.”
The project falls in line with a Florida statute to create “free flow traffic” which would make sure traffic runs smoothly.
“If there’s a vehicle in front of you and they have to slow down to turn into a median or turn into another road way, the traffic behind them has to slow down thus creating what’s called a conflict point,” Hisler-Pace said.
The design would be underway from 2023-2024 and they don’t know details about construction or cost.
Chiefland resident Ellen Gloff isn’t happy about the plan.
“I just think no it shouldn’t happen at all,” Gloff said.
She’s worried about safety.
“Everybody drives faster than they should on US 19 now,” Gloff said. “”If they have turn lanes or roads that they can access, roads they can get on I think the speed is going to actually get worse on US-19. There’s already so many accidents on US-19.”
Gloff owns property near the highway and is worried she’ll be impacted by construction.
“We’re concerned about the talk of an access road because like I said we do have property on US 19, commercial,” Gloff said.
Resident Robbie Blake doesn’t mind it because the highway is already there.
“What they’re trying to do is make the flow easier, which is alright,” Blake said.
While Blake said she’s okay with this project on US Highway 19, she still has concerns about the Florida turnpike that may go through Levy County.
Several residents came to the meeting with stickers that say “rural Florida says no to toll roads” and handed out letters explaining why.
“And they’re talking about building new roads through state forests, through wildlife habitat, through chunky pond, one of the most rare and endangered species places,” Blake said.
There will be another informational meeting on US highway 19 held virtually on Thursday via GoToWebinar. There will also be an in-person meeting on Monday at the Inglis Community Center.
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