Greene Publishing, Inc.
Madison County drivers have a tough assignment ahead — that is, breaking a habit long ingrained by frequent usage. Police Chief Gary Calhoun advised the Madison City Commissioners of the coming change at their regular meeting on July 12.
Calhoun informed the commissioners that the Florida Department of Transportation will revise the lines and signage at the intersection of North Florida Community College and the Winn-Dixie Shopping Center on Hwy. 90W. He said that he and City Manager Harold Emrich have worked with the DOT since repair and repaving was completed on that section of the highway, detailing the dangers of the “suicide lane” at the intersection.
Calhoun explained that many drivers heading west from town pull into the turn lane (designed for drivers heading east) to turn left into the shopping center, while other drivers are trying to turn into the college entrance. Both he and Emrich cited the resultant many accidents and near misses, presenting a safety issue for the county. Both praised the DOT for its rapid response to the complaint.
Calhoun showed the commissioners a sketch of the DOT plan for correcting the problem. It includes additional signs, including “no left turn” and “do not enter,” yellow-striped guidance lines, and raised pavement markers. The design will prohibit left turns into and out of the shopping center at that site. “It will be a right-out, right-in” place,” he said. “Drivers wanting to turn left will have to use the street (Lawson Circle between Ken’s and El Carrisal) or the entrance at Kentucky Fried Chicken.”
Emrich added, “If this does not work, they will put up a cement blockade at that spot.”
In other business, the commissioners voted to ask Emrich to talk with the owners/managers of Madison Heights Apartments to explain that the city will no longer send city employees to work on plumbing problems on the private property of the housing project. Commissioner Judy Townsend voted against the plan because she feels concern for low-income residents who might not be able to afford a private plumber.
The commissioners also held a public hearing on preliminary plans for a $2.9-million USDA grant for upgrading sewage lines, retrofitting some lift stations and removing others, and adding some lines to the system. Jim Parrish of Parrish and Associates will prepare the grant and present it to the USDA for review; then the commissioners will decide whether to continue with the application. Mayor Jim Catron commented, “This is a way to get some help on it instead of having our residents and businesses paying for it all.”
On a motion to approve by Commissioners Myra Valentine and Jim Stanley, the board passed it unanimously.