A community meeting concerning Phase Two of the Quincy By-Pass was held last week at the Quincy/Gadsden Airport conference room.
A number of concerned citizens as well as local and state officials were present at the meeting.
County Commissioner Doug Croley facilitated the meeting.
Capital Region Transportation Planning Agency (CRTPA) Director Harry Reed explained to the group that Phase Two of the project, which includes connecting the already-under-construction Phase One (Between State Road 12 and U.S. Highway 90) to Solomon Dairy Road (State Road 268).
CRTPA is the region's metropolitan planning organization (MPO). As such, the CRTPA is responsible for coordinating transportation planning within Florida's Capital Region. The CRTPA includes all of Gadsden, Jefferson, Leon and Wakulla counties.
Reed said the purpose of the meeting was to let the public know that there would be a feasibility study done on the second phase.
The study, he said, would look at how and where the By-Pass would proceed north.
He continued that there were a lot of issues related to the project.
Reed added that every effort to keep the public informed would be done concerning the progress of the project.
Florida Department of Transportation’s Blair Martin, District Intermodal Systems Development Manager, stated that they had been awarded a $700,000 grant for the study. Agencies will start looking at this project in reference to wetlands, she said.
The actual study will not start until July of this year.
Because it is a new project, Martin said, the feasibility study will be looking at potential corridors and impacts to those areas for the project.
As the process continues, she said, there would be extensive public input – including contacts with property owners – and news releases.
“This is an opportunity now to start a movement toward completion of Phase Two,” Croley said.
He said there would be a lot of additional dollars and work with CRTPA and DOT to make this happen.
Croley added that the county would not get the full benefit from Phase One until Phase two was started.
It was discussed in the meeting that the funding may limit the amount of Phase Two that could be completed.
Several citizens from the Attapulgus Highway (State Road 65) and Salter Road, had concerns about how the connector would
cross their highway.
Both Martin and Reed stated that this was only the first public meeting of many that will be held in the future.
It was mentioned in the meeting that the feasibility study will cover many of those issues and public forums would be held to discuss them.
At this point, Phase Two is only in the planning stages. Martin said under the best case scenario, construction would not begin for seven years.
There was no mention during the meeting about potential cost of the project. That, too, will be a part of the planning process.