Blueprint Board finalizes route for Northeast Gateway study

Published: Apr. 9, 2021 at 9:36 AM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency has approved the route of the Northeast Gateway.

City and County Commissioners discussed the issue for over two hours at Thursday night’s meeting, looking at different options for the road.

The Northeast Gateway has a goal of “improving regional mobility” and “reduce transportation pressures,” according to the agenda item. It’s designed to reduce pressure on canopy roads such as Miccosukee and Centerville.

The project extends Welaunee Boulevard to Roberts Road and the Shamrock Street extension to Welaunee Boulevard.

Commissioners voted to create a roundabout intersection at Shamrock and Centerville Roads as part of the Gateway.

Most of the discussion centered around the intersection of Centerville, Roberts, Bradfordville Road, and Welaunee Boulevard.

The group looked at four options, including a five-leg roundabout intersection (Option A), a five-leg signalized intersection (Option B), a signalized intersection with a Roberts Road realignment (Option C), and a signalized intersection with ‘east swing’ and Roberts Road realignment (Option D).

County Commission Brian Welch pushed for Option D, saying he had heard from his northeast constituents that it was their preferred options. Other Commissioners disagreed, citing a family who had come to the meeting to speak. The family said they were not willing to sell their land to allow the creation of Option D.

There was also a discussion about not building the road at all; City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow made a motion for “no build.” County Commissioner Bill Proctor strongly supported that option, arguing that the Commissioners had not received enough information to move forward.

The no build idea was met with strong pushback from multiple Board members.

Mayor John Dailey suggested the possibility of legal ramifications for going back on certain commitments to neighborhoods; Commissioner Curtis Richardson questioned how tax dollars and time would have been wasted if the project did not go through.

The group voted 7-3 for Option A.

Option A was Blueprint staff’s recommendation. The agenda item said:

“Alternative A, the roundabout, largely unchanges the overall network in the area and brings Welaunee Boulevard to the intersection through a conservation easement that specifically provides for future transportation infrastructure acknowledging that this area would one day include Welaunee Boulevard.

Alternative A limits impacts to homesteaded property, and preserves the existing 71” diameter at breast height (DBH) live oak tree at the intersection by placing this oak tree in the middle of the proposed roundabout.

Alternative A avoids impacts to a wetland system, a FEMA designated floodway, and mitigates impacts to adjacent homesteaded property while also providing for additional eastern access to public schools and the new Northeast Park project location.”

Blueprint Staff

With Thursday’s decision, the staff will hold a final public hearing for PD&E, seek final approval of the PD&E from the IA Board on May 27, 2021, and submit the PD&E Study to the State of Florida in June 2021.

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