A Sign of Expansion

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"Driving time is half of what it used to be," said Waffle House server Lettie Elliott.

After two years of headaches, alternate routes and traffic backups, residents and business owners are breathing easier now that the US 319 widening project is complete.

"It slowed us way down for about four or five months, but once the new road opened up business has picked back up, and actually I think it’s improved because we're doing a whole lot better than what we were before," said Elliott.

She says sales at the Waffle House on Crawfordville Road near Capital Circle Southeast are three times what they were during construction. Leaders behind the project hope development continues bringing money and residents from surrounding counties.

"Many of them driving here daily to work, some to shop, and it’s important to have good access on all sides," said U.S. Rep. Allen Boyd.

Aside from helping business owners and residents, the widening project will also ease congestion if officials order a hurricane evacuation.

"Katrina taught us that when roadways are clogged up people can't get out, and to be designated on paper, official emergency route, but to not have actual street with capacity for people to egress from communities is no good, so this installment honors the designation that is already on the books," said Leon County Chairman Bill Proctor.

Now four lanes instead of two makes drivers and area employees much happier. The $16 million project extends from Wakulla Springs Road to Four Points.