CRESTVIEW — A proposed connector, or service, road mostly using existing infrastructure would alleviate some State Road 85 traffic in the vicinity of Crestview Corners shopping center and North Okaloosa Medical Center, city officials say.
The City Council approved Public Works’ request to pursue the project, which will be funded by the proportional fair share fund, which is specifically for alleviating S.R. 85 congestion.
“As anyone knows, it is a nightmare trying to make a southbound turn out of the Crestview Corners shopping area,” city planner Eric Davis said Monday.
Working with area businesses, Davis and other Public Works officials believe they have found a solution using a route savvy drivers have already partially been using.
Currently, drivers often turn behind Wal-Mart to Brookmeade Extension, onto Hospital Drive and cut through the Advance Auto Parts, Payless Shoes and Taco Bell parking lots to get to Crestview Corners businesses.
A BUSINESS APPROACH
The proposed service road would connect Hospital Drive from behind Advance Auto Parts with the existing Crestview Corners north-south driving lane.
It would then cut through to East Redstone Avenue using an existing lane serving Regions Bank and medical offices.
The city has tried several times to encourage neighboring businesses to cut connectors between their parking lots, most recently as the Krystal hamburger restaurant was under construction last year.
This time, businesses approached the city.
Public Works Director Wayne Steele said North Okaloosa Medical Center and Ashley Rogers, an attorney representing Krystal, contacted his office.
Steele said a productive brainstorming session with hospital CEO David Fuller, Rogers and representatives of other businesses along the proposed corridor led to the proposed connector route.
The road would be a two-lane, low-speed connector much like the current driving lane through the shopping center, striped as a road and with parking islands to help define its parameters and regulation “stop” signs at east-west parking lanes.
The city would be deeded an easement to use the properties the road would pass through, Steele said.
“It'll help with traffic congestion,” he said. “The hospital loves the idea. Krystal’s loves it. All the business owners love it.”
Officials said the cost, as yet undetermined, will be minimal because most of the route is already paved, Davis said. He estimated it will be a minimum of six to eight months before construction could begin.