By Chris Eversole
Congestion along Newberry Road will ease with the extension of SW Eighth Avenue between the back of the Town of Tioga and Parker Road.
The Alachua County Commission approved the $6.4 million, .7-mile project Tuesday (July 9), with Commissioner Susan Baird voting no, saying she would prefer for available funds to go to existing roads.
The SW Eighth Avenue Project will run between Parker Road (122 SW 122 Street) and SW 133 Street, providing a back route to West End Estates, the Jockey Club and the Town of Tioga.
The Town of Tioga will build the road, and then turn it over to the county.
The county is combining $3.3 million from impact fees with $360,000 from the Town of Tioga for the project. Tioga also is providing land for the work.
The county plans later to extend SW Eighth Avenue to SW 143 Street, allowing drivers to take the road to Jonesville for shopping. A $2.4 million state grant will fund that project.
“The state provided the grant because the project will help delay adding additional capacity to Newberry Road, which is a major state road,” said County Transportation Planning Manager Jeff Hays.
The county has applied for a similar grant for Newberry Road, Hays said.
Baird noted the county has a huge backlog of work on existing roads. “It boggles my mind to use our funds build a brand new road when we have critical needs on the roads we have,” she said.
Commissioner Lee Pinkoson pointed to the need for an alternative route to Newberry Road, noting that at times Newberry Road has flooded and been closed.
Developer Luis Diaz said the project will allow continued development of Tioga south of Eighth Avenue, with the potential for 1,000 more homes.
Additional phases of Tioga will include brownstone style townhouses, homes from $200,000 to close to $1 million in price, a charter school and an additional shopping area.