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Need for Project

The current facility does not meet the level of service criteria adopted in the local government comprehensive plan. Due to the high volume of traffic and constrained conditions, improvements that would meet the level of service standards are not possible within the current right-of-way. The study looks at alternatives within the existing corridor and within alternative new corridors. Two build alternatives that increase capacity and upgrade the U.S. 301 corridor to meet SIS criteria are currently under review. An urban alternative, with a west railroad overpass option, would widen the existing road from four to six lanes and require additional right-of-way. A rural alternative would result in the construction of a four-laned limited-access bypasson a new alignment on the west side of the Starke urban area. Only one build alternative will be recommended for construction.

The purpose of the proposed project is to provide capacity improvements to the SR 200/U.S. 301 corridor through the City of Starke urban area, from County Road 227 to County Road 233, in order to address the heavy congestion that prevents the corridor from functioning efficiently as part of a regional transportation link for freight, emergency vehicles, emergency evacuation, and the traveling public. There is a high percentage of trucks and through traffic that travels through the project area, because of the location and connectivity of U.S. 301 in the highway network. Within the urban area, the crash rate is higher than the statewide average for similar facilities.

An earlier Needs Report completed in September 1993 represented the first phase of the study. The Needs Report looked at the existing and forecasted traffic, and then analyzed what the operating conditions will be in 1995, 2005, and 2015. Since that time, the needs have been reevaluated and the design year has been extended to 2030.

In summary, the Starke U.S. 301 Corridor Study addresses the following questions:

  • Will the existing capacity and programmed improvements on U.S. 301 through Starke be adequate to meet the transportation needs in the future?
  • What improvements are required to meet the needs and design standards now and in the future?
  • How can transportation standards be balanced against community needs?
  • What transportation improvement alternatives are possible that will avoid, minimize and mitigate impacts?

The Starke U.S. 301 Corridor Study has been completed in phases with the opportunity for public input during each phase. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement being prepared for the project describes the analysis of various alternatives for the project and discloses the environmental effects of the alternatives. Successful completion of the PD&E process must precede the FDOTs formal decision to proceed with the recommended improvement.