A smoother ride is in store on a 17-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 19. More importantly, residents say it’s a safer one.
One of Vera Crews' marina customers jokes that he has to use his boat to make it down U.S. Highway 19 in Taylor County. But all jokes aside, crews says excessive water does cause problems in the area.
Vera Crews says, "There are a lot of accidents on this road, especially when it rains. We have a lot of people that start to hydroplane and hit the ditch."
That problem should be fixed after the Florida Department of Transportation finishes constructing five drainage pipes along the highway to alleviate standing water.
Vera adds, "I think it would help the business of Taylor County also that we have better roads coming through."
The $16.7 million project will also include resurfacing Highway 19 from the Fenholloway River bridge to the community of Salem.
John Starling, a utility inspector for FDOT, says, "The friction on it is coming up. It needs new friction. It just needs a smoother road through there."
Starting next week, one lane will be closed during daytime hours. Improvements to the 17-mile stretch should be finished by early 2007.