Sebastian Official: Barber Street won’t be widened

SEBASTIAN — City Manager Al Minner told a cheering crowd of 100 gathered at City Hall Tuesday night that the $2 million Barber Street roadway project will not include any additional lanes.The Barber Street project will include rebuilding sections of the road, repaving others, and improving drainage along the 2 3/4-mile road. The City of Sebastian is putting no money into the approved project, though it could decide to make future improvements afterward. Approximately 8,600 vehicles travel the 35 mph roadway on a daily basis, according to numbers provided by the Florida Department of Transportation.

The improvements will be broken into four phases and are currently scheduled to begin by January and end one year later – at the latest, according to Betsy Jeffers, an engineer from FDOT.

The first three phases will require detours through residential side streets as construction crews tear up Barber between SR 512 and Adams Street. They will then rebuild the street from the base up. The fourth phase – from Adams to Schumann – will keep one lane open at all times, allowing traffic to alternate passing through the zone. Crews will be repaving that section of road.

“Frankly, it’s going to be painful,” Minner said when asked how the heavy volume of traffic was going to be handled. Jeffers added that traffic control measures would be worked out between FDOT and the selected contractor.

“We’re fixing the road to make it stronger and that it will last longer,” Jeffers said.

Though Minner started the meeting telling the residents that Barber would not be widened, he did inform them that the improvement plans do include adding a turn lane on northbound Barber at State Road 512.

Barber Street is in need of the approved repairs due to Tropical Storm Fay’s massive amounts of water dumped on the area a year ago. The road has started to “buckle and pucker” sooner than it should because of the water damage, Minner said.

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