The Escambia County Board of County Commissioners on Thursday will approve terms with the Florida Department of Transportation to implement a SunPass system at the Bob Sikes toll bridge, allocate $1.38 million dollars to widen Muscogee Road, and approve an agreement to reimbursed for design of a ferry landing at Quietwater Beach.
The resurfacing and drainage improvements are complete for U.S. 98 from the Gulf Breeze Zoo to the Okaloosa County line. Now that the road is smoother, wider and has accommodation for bicyclists, the Santa Rosa County Public Works Department is starting its beautification activities in the Navarre area.
The Florida Transportation Commission (FTC) released its Performance and Production Review of the Florida Department of Transportation Friday, which found the department met or exceeded the objectives of 16 of the 17 primary measures for Fiscal Year 2014/15.
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Let’s face it, few people enjoy it when road construction pops up near their home, work or along their travel routes. Sometimes people get a bit cranky. One of the most effective ways to keep the public calm and to head off minor issues before they become big complaints is to keep people informed.
When performing Public Involvement, we at EPR maintain an open dialogue with the public through multiple avenues. From offline face-to-face, telephone calls and letters to digital emails, eNewsletters, websites, Facebook and SMS texting, we are able to reach people who embrace technology and those who shun or avoid it.
Social Media platforms like Facebook have been very successful in providing project updates and notifying the public of scheduled and unexpected lane closures. Some posts reach thousands of people thanks to the page followers who share those posts. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) prefers that Public Involvement (PI) consultants utilize Facebook over creating a job-specific website. For examples of the FDOT project Facebook pages developed by EPR, go to: US98NavarreParkway and StateRoad123*.
Project websites can be developed as an online portal where people interested in the project can receive updates and find downloadable flyers, maps, brochures and more. While a website is less interactive than a Facebook project page, it does allow the consultants to store not only photos but multi-page PDF files with active hyperlinks right there on the site. For example, the MyNavyBlvd.com website was developed as part of EPR’s public involvement activities for the Escambia County Florida Community Redevelopment Agency. By constructing a special “Downloads” page, we were able to provide an easy to find and navigate location where they can download documents from the project information flyer to a PDF of the Kick-off Meeting slide presentation. Also, unlike Facebook, which continuously buries posts as new information is posted, a project website offers a static environment where repeat visitors can easily navigate back to the information they found the week before. Both platforms, websites and Facebook pages have their pros and cons. While the FDOT prefers project Facebook pages, Escambia County prefers project websites.
eNewsletters and Text Alerts
EPR also uses two other digital tools as a means to support the Facebook page or project website. Those interested in the project can sign-up to receive the project’s eNewsletter and/or SMS Text alerts, which are for emergency notifications. The eNewsletters are emailed to subscribers as milestones are reached throughout the project. SMS Text Alerts are sent to the subscriber’s phone when an emergency, such as an accident that unexpectedly closes a lane(s), causes substantial backup of traffic. Standard text messaging charges apply, so we limit the text alerts to urgent information that needs to be received by the public as soon as possible.
These four tools are only some of the methods that EPR uses to conduct the most comprehensive public involvement campaigns. For more examples of our public involvement activities, please review our project descriptions located on our Public Involvement pages.
*The improvements being made along State Road (S.R.) 123 are part of three separate FDOT-funded construction projects (Segment 2, Segment 3 and Segment 4). Since the work is taking place on all three segments at the same time, and since the three projects look like one from the public’s viewpoint, a single project Facebook page, StateRoad123, was designed and constructed by EPR, the lead PI team – Segment 4 – and is jointly maintained with the PI team performing Public Involvement duties for Segments 2 and 3.
With over 30 years of public speaking and community service, Mr. Fuller has been a facilitator for public involvement meetings and presented to small groups and to groups of over 3,000 attendees. Mr. Fuller has also overseen the designing/planning of the meeting setup and layout and interviewed numerous attendees. For the past 6 years, Mr. Fuller has expanded his community outreach involvement efforts to include the deaf and hard of hearing and can communicate effectively in American Sign Language at a volunteer public-speaker level. Mr. Fuller has also been involved in the training and teaching of public speakers for the past 6 years.
Adding to his skills as a public speaker and facilitator, his experience in Drafting & Design Engineering, as well as his involvement in the construction field for many years as both a volunteer contractor and inspector, provides him a broad knowledgebase that is critical for the facilitation of clear communication between private, commercial and governmental developers and the public. His knowledge of field data collection and assimilation of such data into projects/plans, and the clear presentation of such information has helped solidify community cohesion and agreement on numerous projects. Mr. Fuller has worked with both private, commercial and governmental developers in the design and planning of parks, buildings and parking areas.
We are excited to welcome Randy Fuller to the EPR family.
EPR has moved around the corner to
309 West Gregory Street in downtown Pensacola
Nighttime milling, resurfacing and lane closures will begin after Labor Day weekend. Meanwhile, drainage improvement crews continue laying pipe between the Okaloosa County line and SR 87 on the north side of the highway.
This Labor Day weekend, EPR traffic technicians will be counting pedestrians, vehicles and speed between the Villagio shopping center and the new fire station on the Key. Beginning Thursday, August 29th technicians will be installing traffic count cameras alongside the road and counting tubes across the Perdido Key Drive. Also, periodically throughout the weekend technicians will use radar guns to measure traffic speeds.
University of West Florida’s proposal of a new student union, more housing, a football stadium, a parking garage, plaza and active senior living community moves one step closer to reality.