BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) – A local road widening project three years in the making is close to being done.
The heavily-traveled Jenks Avenue now has five lanes from Baldwin Road up to Highway 390. Although the last of the asphalt has been laid down, workers have one more step before they can say Jenks Avenue is 100 percent complete.
Over a mile has been widened and repaved.
“[It] didn’t have the turn lanes where we needed to have them at the intersections, so this is a tremendous improvement,” Bay County Chief Infrastructure Officer Keith Bryant said.
After years of planning and Hurricane Michael interruptions, it took over $11 million to complete the project.
“We utilized surtax dollars for this,” Bryant said. “This was one of the projects that I think really had people supporting the surtax dollars. This was tremendously needed. A lot of congestion on Jenks every day.”
Some motorists said they are happy.
“Easy to get by it,” Southport resident Caroline Reyes said. “You know, you can drive pretty smoothly. It has wider lanes too.”
Jenks Avenue used to have two lanes. Now there are four, plus a turn lane, plus a bike lane and sidewalks. Even with those added features, there is one last thing Jenks Avenue needs.
“What we’ve done is we’ve issued a task order to North Florida Power and Light to put a street light on every pole that we have along with that corridor,” Bryant said. “Because now we are getting a lot of pedestrians with the sidewalks and the bicyclists.”
Bryant said the next road to go under construction is the Titus Road Connector off Highway 231.
That is going to be a brand new roadway, which is unique for the county because they will build it from the ground up.