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Ormond Beach Observer Wednesday, May 1, 2013 5 years ago

Planning nearly done on pared-down John Anderson project

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The constriction project once included sidewalks, guards rails and some tree removal. Now, it's down to road resurfacing and drainage.

BY MATT MENCARINI | STAFF WRITER

After years of planning, the John Anderson Drive construction project draws closer, and it looks different than when it was first proposed.

The City Commission will likely vote, at its May 7 meeting, on approving bids for the project to be requested, and recently held a public meeting April 24, with representatives from the city’s engineering division and members from Zev Cohen and Associates.

Gone are the sidewalks and guard rails and tree removal, which were the controversial elements of the original plan, to go along with approximately $3 million of the cost.

“You get too many issues involved in one project and then each one created a paralysis,” said City Commissioner James Stowers, who represents Zone 1, where the project will be. “You’re left with a road that, in 2009, needed to be resurfaced. And it’s 2013, and it needs to be resurfaced.”

The new plan, which Stowers said should cost approximately $3 million, half of the estimated $6 million when the project included sidewalks, has at least one element the city will continue to hear resident input about: stop signs.

The stop signs aren’t going in until toward the end of the project, Stowers said, so there’s time to have additional analysis and input from residents. It’s a balancing act between keeping the speed along the road closer to the posted speed limit, and keeping commutes along John Anderson Drive from including unnecessary delays.

Doing away with the sidewalks and scaling down the project, Stowers said, helped to maintain the feel along John Anderson Drive because it meant trees didn’t have to be removed, and some metal guards placed along sections of the sidewalk didn’t have to be installed.

The sidewalks debate ended with a filled commission chamber, Stowers said, as officials voted to remove them from the plan.

Not only had the city received negative input about how the sidewalks were expected to change the atmosphere of the road and neighborhood, but easements were needed, and some residents were unwilling to accommodate. The long eminent-domain process and further input from residents ultimately did away with the sidewalks.

The project now focuses on resurfacing the road and assisting with stormwater drainage in some areas. It could take an estimated five to eight to nine months to complete.

“To me, we’re moving forward with the resurfacing project,” Stowers said. “And as far as the stop signs, it’s something we’ll (continue to) evaluate.”

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