Commissioners’ decision not to realign roads ‘smacks of hypocrisy’

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY – County Commissioner Wesley Davis expressed frustration with his fellow board members last week when they decided to save money and not realign two roads off County Road 512 in North County.

“This smacks of hypocrisy,” the commissioner said. “Had this been a developer coming in with something like this…we would never allow a 3-way intersection on this road.”

At issue was an agreement the county had with the state involving swapping land and restoring a paved stretch of road to its natural condition.

Commissioners had considered extending 101st Avenue north across County Road 512 and linking it with 102nd Terrace. The county would then remove a portion of 102nd Terrace between CR512 and the new intersection with 101st Avenue.

The estimated cost of the project was approximately $823,600, including $137,000 that would be set aside for restoring the former roadway back to vacant, natural land.

The reason for reconfiguring the intersection would have been to avoid putting a second traffic in at 102nd Terrace once traffic from Vero Lake Estates warranted it.

Commissioner Gary Wheeler recommended the county drop its plans for the road improvements, noting that he did not believe they were needed.

“The intersection already exists,” Wheeler said, so it’s not like a developer coming in and creating the 3-way intersection.

He also said that the county would be spending a lot of money – an estimated $823,600 – to fix one intersection to avoid having a second traffic light that might not be needed in the future.

Commissioner Davis said he believed the county was creating a double standard in its decision.

“This is just hypocritical in my mind,” he added.

Both Davis and Commissioner Joe Flescher voted against the motion, which passed 3-2.

Commissioners were given two other options for the project.

One option was to fund a future traffic signal at 102nd Terrace and CR 512 that would be synchronized with the signal at 101st Avenue. Its estimated cost would have been $250,000.

The other option was to pave 102nd Terrace south from CR 512 to 92nd Street in Vero Lake Estates and transfer the traffic signal at 101st Avenue to 102nd Terrace. That option’s cost would have been an estimated $700,000.

Commissioners did not discuss the alternative options.

The road realignment was the second of two phases of an arrangement between the county and the state. The first phase consisted of a different land swap where the county gave the state two parcels of land along 102nd Terrace north of CR 512 in exchange for a nearly 6.5-acre parcel used as a retention pond.

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