County's airports to get millions for infrastructure

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Franklin County’s airports are set to receive more than $11 million from the Florida Department of Transportation over the next five years. 

 According to a draft of the DOT’s Tentative Five-Year Work Program for District 3, which was opened for public comment at public hearings Oct. 5, $4.2 million will be allocated for improvements at the Apalachicola Regional Airport and $6.9 million will go to the Carrabelle-Thompson Airport.  

The DOT was careful to say that numbers may change during the approval process. But if things go according to plan, Franklin County also can expect $12 million in federal, state and local contributions for railroad improvements and around $37 million in improvements to roadways, traffic signals, sidewalks and bridges.

In terms of specifics, the county-owned Apalachicola airport in 2023 will get $600,00 in 2023 for stormwater and drainage, and $800,000 for pavement repair; $800,000 in 2024 for utility improvement; $500,00 in 2026 for fence construction; and $1.5 million in 2027 for runway rehabilitation.

In Carrabelle, where the airport is city-owned, the facility is slated in 2023 to get about $235,000 for taxiway design work and $100,000 for stormwater upgrades; $300,000 in 2024 for design work on runway rehab; $1 million in 2025 for hangar development; and $5 million in 2027 for reconstruction of a runway.

Railroad improvements will bring in $12 million in 2024 to improve the Apalachicola Norther Railroad lines, an amount split equally between local and state funding.

There are about a dozen highway projects, mostly resurfacing and bridge repair. These include $8 million in state and federal dollars ibn 2023 to resurface US 98 from west of US 319 to the Ochlocknee Bay Bridge;  more than $15 million in 2023  to resurface US 98 from South Franklin Street to the Carrabelle River Bridge;  $2 million in 2023 to do preliminary design and engineering on a stretch of US 98 from Kenneth Cope Avenue to the east end of Ochlocknee Drive; $1.3 million in 2923 to do culvert repair on the Womack Creek Bridge over County Road 67; about $3 million to resurface State Road 300 to U.S. 98;  about $3.5 million to resurface U.S. 98 from the Apalachicola River Bridge to Franklin Street; and various other smaller sums for work on traffic signals, sidewalks such as Otter Slide Road to Vrooman Park, and resurfacing of Patton Drive from U.S. 98 to Island rive and widening and resurfacing Hickory Dip Road from Old Ferry Dock Road to North Bayshore Drive.

A copy of the drafted plan is available on the DOT’s website. Comments may be emailed directly to District 3 at d3-phcomments@dot.state.fl.us. 

After the public comment period ends, the work program  is reviewed by the Florida Legislature and the Governor, before being  adopted by the State Secretary of Transportation on July 1, 2022.

Times Editor David Adlerstein contributed to this report.

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