SEBRING — North Tangerine Drive improvements will proceed, Highlands County commissioners decided Tuesday.
State grants totaled $459,000, so another $250,00 will be needed to finish the half-mile road, County Engineer Clinton Howerton Jr. said.
The county could have saved about $110,000 by changing a traffic circle into a T-intersection, Road and Bridge Supervisor Kyle Green said.
The county could reuse its original plans, before the Town of Lake Placid asked for roundabout, Howerton said.
Months ago, county engineers realized there was a shortfall in the funding. They had forgotten to include the price of concrete.
Before Howerton was hired as county engineer, the town requested a roundabout instead of a T-intersection at Heartland Boulevard. The county told the town another $120,000 would be needed.
“We should said about $240,000,” Howerton said. “So that was something that was missed a year or more ago.”
When asked for an additional $120,000, Lake Placid town councilors balked. They offered $80,500.
On Tuesday, commissioners were also reluctant to sink more county money into the project.
“We have spent a lot putting in the roundabout versus the T-intersection,” Commissioner Jim Brooks said. “We’ve got a lot of places we can spend road money without buying a roundabout where it’s not needed. I don’t know that it’s that functional anyway.”
The project is half-finished, Green said.
“Quite a bit of work has been done,” Town Councilor Ray Royce said. Pipe and other improvements would have to be moved.
“We were led to believe it was about a $600,000 project,” Royce said. The town bought right of way and transferred parkland. “We have about $150,000 in the project, the county has $100,000. That’s our perspective.”
The town had no way of knowing what the county would charge to the project, so instead of sharing a percentage, the town asked for a solid number as to what the town would contribute to the project.
“It is a big collector road,” said Commissioner Jack Richie, who represents Lake Placid. Leisure Lakes and Placid Lakes subdivisions will drive down Tangerine instead of driving through the town and stopping at three lights, he said. “And in the future, a lot more people are coming in. The longer we wait, the more it costs.”
At the end of their discussion, commissioners voted 5-0 to keep the roundabout and delete only decorative stamped concrete, saving $20,000.