BY JAMES HARPER
DAYTONA TIMES STAFF
Daytona Beach city officials are now projecting the Orange Avenue streetscape project will cost $22 million – $3 million more than residents were told at their last public meeting in February.
This is according to information provided to the Daytona Times from Daytona Beach Public Information Officer Susan Cerbone.
Residents and property owners had another opportunity to talk to city officials September 11 about the long-awaited reconstruction and upgrading of Orange Avenue from Nova Road to Beach Street at a public meeting at City Hall.
Cerbone said residents were told construction will start at Nova Road and progress eastward to Beach Street in eight-, two, – and three-block segments. Access to commercial and residential properties will be maintained throughout the project.
This was a concern at the last meeting. Many residents were worried if the project started at Beach Street, there might be a possibility if the project ran out of funding, the west end of the strip would not get completed.
Starts next year
Cerbone said construction is now expected to start in March 2014. “It is anticipated that it will take 2 1/2 years to complete the project due to its complexity and limited right-of-way,” she noted.
In addition to a totally reconstructed roadway base and surface, the project will also provide for all-new water, sewer and drainage systems, upgraded traffic signalization and street lighting, widened sidewalks, decorative crosswalks and underground utilities.
“These improvements have been designed to improve drainage and safety, to eliminate environment pollution from leaking sewer lines and to vastly improve the aesthetics of the entire corridor,” Cerbone continued.
Funding for the project is being provided from a 20-year Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) Revolving Loan, Florida Department of Transportation grants, Volusia County and the City of Daytona Beach.
Daytona Beach city officials had planned for bids for the Orange Avenue Streetscape project to go out to the marketplace on July 1. That changed when Public Works Director Ron McLemore was informed that FDEP delayed their board meeting for the approval of a state revolving loan from June to October, causing the city a delay in bidding until the end of October or first of November.
McLemore said the city wanted construction to begin on the project around the first of the year, but now that will not be the case.
Layers of funding
The city applied for a $13,143,000 loan from Florida’s revolving funds for the project. In addition, a $4,697,000 Florida Department of Transportation grant and a $1,660,000 Volusia County grant will go toward the project. The Volusia County Council has already approved the $1.6 million.
Upon the date of receipt of the county’s $1.6 million payment, the jurisdiction and responsibility to operate, repair, maintain, and control Orange Avenue from Nova Road to Beach Street shall immediately transfer to the city, according to an item on the County Council’s agenda.
The county’s contribution was funded from local option gas taxes.