I had a late lunch with a friend this week at Cracker Barrel. We visited for a bit after lunch and it was around 3 p.m. when we left.
I decided I'd better get on the road as traffic really backs up during the afternoon, rather than shop. Trying to make a left turn from Cracker Barrel Road onto State Road 85 was absolutely impossible given the amount of traffic, both northbound and southbound; so I waited for about seven minutes, finally made a right turn and managed to safely get into the left hand lane so I could make a U-turn at John King Road.
Adding to the confusion of making a legal left turn from Cracker Barrel Road onto State 85 is the fact that people in the Exxon gas station make illegal left turns, which makes the situation even more dangerous.
When attempting to make a left turn onto northbound State 85, one has to watch for drivers turning left onto Cracker Barrel Road, those coming from the hotel across the street, and cars driving southbound, as well as cars trying to turn left illegally from the gas station. These are accidents waiting to happen.
Something needs to be done at that intersection for safety — perhaps a stoplight? At the very least, flexible delineator posts need to be put up to keep people from turning left out of the gas station.
I was able to speak with Scott Bitterman, the County's engineer, who let me know there are several things in the works for this area of State 85 to help relieve the congestion we face.
South Crest Drive (Wendy's) and Cracker Barrel Road are city maintained roads, while State 85 is state maintained.
Improvements are coming in about two years to help relieve congestion. This intersection will have three-quarter access in which cars may turn left from State 85 into either Cracker Barrel Road and South Crest Drive, but no left turns will be allowed on to State 85 from these two streets.
This improvement should greatly increase safety and traffic flow. The intersection at John King will then have two left turn lanes allowing for U-turns, to increase safety. The city, Florida Department of Transportation, and the county are all working very hard to relieve the traffic stress in this area. At this time, FDOT is working on extending the northbound turn lane onto I-10 West to help clean up congestion.
Janice Lynn Crose, a former accountant, lives in Crestview with her husband, Jim; her two rescue collies, Shane and Jasmine; and two cats, Kathryn and Prince Valiant.