Status Update on the Rebuilding of Alligator Drive - April 24, 2019
On April 24, the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM), FEMA, and Franklin County staff convened to discuss available and feasible options regarding the future of Alligator Drive. After extensive discussion of alternatives, including permitting and regulatory challenges, the multiple agency representatives were able to identify a realistic path forward to re-building a permanent road, considering the need for a time-sensitive solution.
In light of these considerations, and with the guidance of state and federal representatives, the current proposed strategy is for Franklin County to rebuild a permanent road in its existing right of way by April 2020. The county will continue to seek to acquire properties on Alligator Point through a FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) application that allows for the voluntary sale of property by the property owners. The county will not seek to expand or improve the temporary road in order to begin immediate permanent work instead. The estimated timeline is for a contractor to be in place by August of this year, or less than six months from now, and the contractor would be responsible for maintaining traffic flow through the construction zone.
Two weeks prior in April, FDEM and FEMA personnel had a meeting with high ranking Florida Division of Emergency Protection (FDEP) personnel where it was determined that FDEP would allow the county to build a permanent road in the current right of way under the existing FDEP Emergency Order if the county could complete the project by April 2020. While the county will continue to seek land for future public uses, including a possible relocation of the road, the time it will take to acquire all necessary properties could take years - all the while the Franklin County would have to maintain a temporary road at its own expense in a location it knows to be extremely vulnerable. For this reason, the most expedient path to providing a safe road for Alligator Point proposed is to re-build the road in its current location with sheet pile and a rock revetment on the water side, prior to April 2020 under the FDEP Emergency Order.
Future additional protective measures - such as beach renourishment, T-groins, offshore breakwater, or other mechanisms that might slow down the erosion rates - are still being evaluated. These additional measures might also have significant local cost shares that will have to be calculated.
FCMC, as directed by FDEM, and Franklin County will be seeking additional coordination with FDEP as the engineering designs are being completed. In order to shorten the timeline, Franklin County will advertise for bids during the time FEMA is reviewing and approving the scope of work, with the goal of approving a project with a known cost as soon as the bids are opened. The county intends to advertise for bids in June, and open bids in July.