News Cast for June 19th:

Closer to four lanes

Support is growing to widen portions of state road 70 across the state.

Five studies are underway on the section of route 70 west in Highlands County and part of Okeechobee County.

They are currently doing a planning, design and engineering study on those sections of road between DeSoto County and NW 128th Avenue in Okeechobee.

Project Manager David Turley said the big hurdle right now is cash.

“The question is If we have the funding.  Right now we don’t have funding for any of the future phases.  The Heartland Transportation planning office doesn’t get a lot of money and this is where a lot of this money would come from.  We are looking at it and finding ways to get funding and move these projects a lot quicker than they are moving right now.”

He said safety is the main reason for the study.  Another is the bottlenecks that occur when there are hurricanes approaching either the east or west coast.  It is also a major truck route for commerce across the state.

The study looks at social economic and environmental affects from a wider roadway.

State Senator Erin Grall has been talking with the FDOT about State Road 70 funding.  She thinks they heard her concerns and will speed up funding.

“We have been told for many years that there is a plan.  Everybody kind of gets this is a 15-20 year plan.  FDOT has been incredible in working with me and understanding this is a priority that we don’t wait 15 to 20 years for.”

She said the legislature also removed certain fire assessments on agriculture land and placed a greater emphasis on water storage and cleanup projects.

“There is a lot of funding tied to all the policies so they can move along these projects at a much more rapid clip.”

Moore Haven city council hired a company to remove a sunken boat that burned in the city docks in March.

They have had little luck working with the insurance carriers but want to get reimbursed for damage the fire did to the docks.

They will also ask Glades County to allow them to expand the city water service area by up to five miles outside the current city limits to service more territory.

By Taylor