Also in City Watch: See how the Thanksgiving holiday will impact this week's garbage and recycling schedule.
In August, the Florida Department of Transportation began the first phase of a long awaited transportation project in the city of Ormond Beach: Improvements to the I-95 and U.S. 1 interchange.
FDOT is conducting a $2.8 million Project Development and Environmental study for the one-mile segment of U.S. 1, and according to the state department, this study is meant “to accommodate existing and future travel demand and improve safety at the interchange and along U.S. 1.”
A press release addressed to local government officials details that improvements would enhance operational and safety needs while improving traffic flow and better serving regional trips at this interchange, which was designed and built sometime in the late 1950s to early 1960s.
FDOT expects the study to take about two years to complete. The design of the project is expected to cost $3.3 million, and is budgeted for summer 2022. For Ormond Beach Mayor Bill Partington, who serves on the River to Sea Transportation Planning Organization, the project is a long time coming.
“It’s a safety issue as much as anything,” he said. “If you’ve ever been in that area, it just doesn’t function well. It was designed at a time where there was so much less traffic.”
“It’s the gateway into Volusia and Ormond coming south on I-95, and then it’s the gateway into Flagler really going north on I-95. I think with all the growth that’s happening in that area, now’s the time to finally get the project done.”
Bill Partington, mayor of Ormond Beach on the I-95 and U.S. 1 interchange.
City Commissioner Dwight Selby served on the TPO for four years prior to Partington, and said this project was “a constant drumbeat” for him. It’s a “very dangerous old interchange,” and now that funding has been secured for the first two steps of the process, Selby is confident the project will move forward steadily.
“The good news is that the process has started, as opposed to when we were just talking about it, trying to get the process started,” Selby said. “We’re better off than we were but we’re not where we want to be yet, but we’ll get there.”
Both Selby and Partington credited the city’s transportation consultant, Maryam Ghyabi, with raising awareness of the need for the project at the state level.
Public engagement activities are planned throughout the study, and include stakeholder meetings, a public workshop and a public hearing, to take place likely sometime in 2022.
“I’m hoping our residents will come out in force to explain what they want and how they want to see the project move forward,” Partington said.
Holiday garbage schedule
There will be no garbage or recycle collection on Thursday, Nov. 25.
All Thursday garbage and recycle routes will be picked up on Friday, Nov. 26. As a result, all Friday garbage and recycle routes will be picked up on Saturday, Nov. 27.
The yard waste schedule remains unchanged.
OB Life meeting set for Dec. 2
The final “OB Life: Westward Focus” workshop will be held at 6p.m. at Calvary Christian Church, located at 1687 W. Granada Blvd., on Thursday, Dec. 2.
The workshop will revolve around utilities and public safety. A virtual attendance option is available. Visit ormondbeach.org/OBLife.
VSO gains reaccreditation
For the 10th time, the Volusia Sheriff’s Office has been reaccredited, following a long review of the agency’s policies, procedures and operations by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, according to a press release.
“This latest seal of approval confirms to me that our Sheriff’s Office is providing some of the best law enforcement service in America,” Sheriff Mike Chitwood said. “The men and women who come to work here every day continue to make me extremely proud, and from what I hear in the community, the residents of Volusia County feel the same way.”
The press release states the accreditation is a significant one, as it comes following the implementation of Amendment 10, which separated the department’s operations from county government.
In addition, in 2021, VSO launched a new training academy and negotiated a new union contract with increased pay for deputies.