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I-75/Everglades Boulevard Interchange Justification Report Public Information Meeting

Post Date:05/26/2009

 

 

May 26, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

I-75/Everglades Boulevard Interchange Justification Report

Public Information Meeting Planned

The Collier County Transportation Planning Department is hosting the I-75/Everglades Boulevard Interchange Justification Report Public Information Meetingon Wednesday, June 3 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Palmetto Elementary School Cafeteria, 3000 10th Avenue S.E., Naples. Residents, visitors, business and property owners are invited to stop in during the two-hour time frame of the meeting to review the project displays and talk one on one with Transportation Services Division staff and members of the project team. The meeting will be held in an open house format. There will not be a formal presentation. Public input is very important and needed to complete the Interchange Justification Report.

The Interchange Justification Report (IJR) is being developed to evaluate the need for a new interchange on I-75/Alligator Alley between Collier Boulevard (CR 951) and SR 29. (The project area map is shown at the end of this release.) A new interchange along this 21-mile section of I-75 would improve mobility and interstate access for people living and working in eastern Collier County. Improved access to I-75 is especially critical during evacuation events such as hurricanes and brush fires. A new interchange in eastern Collier County would also help to alleviate some of the future traffic congestion projected to occur at the Collier Boulevard (CR 951), Golden Gate Parkway and Immokalee Road interchanges. The majority of the future growth that will occur in Collier County will be in the area bounded by Collier Boulevard, SR 29, I-75/Alligator Alley, and Immokalee Road. With more than half of the ultimate “build-out’ population of Collier County forecasted to live in Eastern Collier County, it is necessary to increase accessibility to I-75 for regional mobility as well as emergency evacuation needs. Population in Golden Gate Estates is currently estimated to be at approximately 37,000 in 2010 with build-out expected around 2080 with a population of approximately 79,000. An additional 260,000 people are projected to be living east of Golden Gate Estates in the next fifty years when factoring in the estimated population of Immokalee, Ave Maria, Big Cypress and future communities.

Due to the extremely limited nature of access in eastern Collier County, residents are forced to travel into the urban area to reach I-75 during emergency evacuation events. The majority of the traffic flow between the Golden Gate Estates area and I-75 takes place on Golden Gate Boulevard, Collier Boulevard, and Immokalee Road. To access I-75 this traffic must continue on Immokalee Road or Collier Boulevard, (or connect over to Pine Ridge Road or Golden Gate Parkway). Congestion at all four existing interchanges located in the urbanized portion of the county (i.e., Collier Boulevard, Golden Gate Parkway, Pine Ridge Road, and Immokalee Road) is expected to continue to increase in the future and all four of these interchanges are expected to exceed their capacities within the timeframe of the Collier Metropolitan Planning Organization’s 2030 Long Range Transportation Plan. A new interchange between Collier Boulevard and SR 29 is anticipated to help alleviate some of the future traffic congestion projected to occur on the existing interstate and adjacent local roads.

An IJR is a first step in a rather long process in showing the need for an interchange. This formal proposal documents the need for and the operational impacts of a new interchange on a limited access facility, such as I-75. The IJR for this project will address the following:

üThe existing conditions of the study area roadway network (including current traffic operations);

üReasonable alternatives to a new interchange;

üFuture year traffic operations on I-75 (both with and without a new interchange);

üEnvironmental fatal flaws;

üLevel of public support; and

üConsistency with local, regional and state transportation plans.

Since I-75 is under the jurisdiction of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the IJR must be submitted to FHWA for its review and approval. It is FHWA’s policy to maintain the safety and integrity of the Interstate Highway System to provide motorists with the highest level of service possible. Limiting access to only justified interchanges is critical to achieving this goal. For a new interchange to be approved by the FHWA, Collier County must demonstrate that the existing transportation network will not be able to accommodate the future year traffic demand, all reasonable alternatives to a new interchange have been considered and none of the other alternatives are able to satisfy the need for new access, and the location of the new interchange will not have any adverse impacts on I-75. The IJR for this project is being prepared in consultation with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), District One.

Members of the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) may be in attendance at this public meeting.

If you are a person with a disability who needs any accommodation in order to participate in this proceeding, you are entitled, at no cost to you, to the provision of certain assistance. Please contactthe Collier County Facilities Management Department located at 3301 East Tamiami Trail, Naples, Florida, 34112, 239.252.8380, at least two days prior to the meeting.

For more information, please contact Collier County Project Manager Michael Green at 239.252.8192 or via e-mail at michaelgreene@colliergov.net.

[News Media: If you have any questions, please contact Community Liaison Connie Deane at 239-252-8192 or 8365.]

 

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