Significant changes may come near US-19 near Chiefland

According to FDOT, the future project is meant to maintain free-flow traffic.
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 11:34 PM EDT
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CHIEFLAND, Fla. (WCJB) - FDOT officials are driving the idea of a new highway or major changes to US-19.

The future project is meant to maintain free-flow traffic according to FDOT officials. They say discussions started months ago.

FDOT officials targeted Chiefland business owners and safety officials to send a representative and voice their concerns, but everyone was welcome to attend.

“They’re hopefully making the right decision so that when it is time to make that informative decision, they have that recommendation from the community,” shared local businessman Stoney Smith. “They can just hand it to the person, maybe the governor or secretary who makes that decision.”

Many spoke about the possibility of a bypass. ”They’re either got to do a bypass, which is easy,” shared Smith. “Sometimes the easiest way to do things, because you’re going out of an unpopulated area, unimproved area, and doing a faster road out of the community.”

Some say a possible bypass will be beneficial towards traffic in the area. However, some residents worry businesses would be affected.

Some are concerned a bypass would divert commuters away from local businesses, and others fear it may be dangerous.

“I’ve been watching them build a bypass in Starke,” stated resident Earl Beegle. “I understand that since they have opened it up, its become one of the most dangerous places on the highway. They’ve had a number of bad accidents over there.”

The select few shared they would like to preserve wildlife, access to businesses, as well as keep people safe.

FDOT officials say they will review Thursday’s input during the next months and schedule public input sessions.

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