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FDOT PROJECT ON LOWER MATECUMBE
Elevating US One on Lower Matecumbe
On Tuesday, February 23, 2021, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) had a “virtual” workshop for members of the public. Their future highway project from MM73.75 to MM77.5, nearly all of Lower Matecumbe, was the subject of the meeting.
The project scope includes:
FDOT has completed 90% of the planning, so perhaps there is little opportunity for significant changes. They anticipate the entire plan will be completed by September of 2021 and the contracts for the work will be “let” January 2022 with 18 months of construction beginning in April of 2022.
The total construction cost is estimated at $12.4 million.
Roadway Elevation: 1.7 feet
The engineers explained how they determined how much to elevate the road. They described the process as similar to the “cone of probability” used to predict the path of hurricanes. The cone in this case uses the best and worst case scenarios for the impact of sea level rise on high tides over the next 20 years. FDOT used the midway between the projected lowest increase and highest increase in the height of the tides to determine how high to elevate the highway above today’s elevation: 1.7 feet.
While the graph below was not provided by FDOT, this demonstrates the data that can be used to determine when it is likely for US One to flood as a result of Sea Level Rise:
The impact of tropical storms and hurricanes was not considered when determining how much to elevate the highway.
After the FDOT presentation, there was significant public comment. Councilmen Mark Gregg and Dave Webb both spoke up as did a number of concerned property owners.
Councilman Gregg voiced serious concern about the sea turtles. He observed that FDOT did not seem to consider the sea turtles, but rather had virtually eliminated the turtle nesting beach. Several callers were equally concerned, though it has been past projects and the current revetment project, not this future project, callers were concerned about. FDOT explained they do not do beach re-nourishment which is perhaps what is desired by callers.
Councilman Dave Webb voiced concerns about the runoff from the highway and the drainage issues on the bayside bike path. The bike path is often flooded for weeks after a heavy rain, making it necessary for those using the path to detour very near the highway shoulder to bypass the deep water.
Village ownership of bike path
On February 10, 2005, FDOT provided a quit claim deed for the first 50’ of right of way on Lower Matecumbe, bayside, and the Old Highway on the other three islands. The council accepted the gift from FDOT by resolution, thus accepting the maintenance as well.
Click here for 2005 Village resolution accepting ownership and maintenance requirements of bike pathClick here for more details and some opinions
Click here to see FDOT Presentation