1.3 miles of road improvements to cost $23 million

1.3 miles of road improvements to cost $23 million

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For 20 years now, the city of Daytona Beach has been trying to revamp Orange Avenue. They are ready to begin, but the cost will be $23 million for the 1.3 mile stretch of road.  City, county, state and federal taxpayers will have to foot the bill.

Deputy City manager Ron McLemore tells Fox 35 the project is much more than a road repaving project.

"It's a total reconstruction of the roadway and all of the utilities underneath it. We're basically taking the everything out and putting it all in new."

There are cracks in the pavement throughout the 1.3 mile stretch of road. the cracks are caused by either leaks in a sewer or stormwater pipe beneath. All of the utility lines will also be buried in the process. McLemore also says there will be several additions to make the entire neighborhood look better.

"When we're done it's going to be much more aesthetically pleasing as well as function much better as a thoroughfare."

Those feature include additional trees, wider sidewalks, brick paved crosswalks, and possibly signature entrance way markers to the Midtown neighborhood. By far the biggest cost though is the train station that is planned.  McLemore says new train service from Jacksonville to Miami should stop in Daytona Beach.

"In the planning stages now is this north south, Florida East Coast passenger service that's being planned, and that would have a station here in Daytona."

The city has applied for a $10 million federal grant to help cover the cost of the train station and the road that will connect Orange Avenue to the station. McLemore says the plans will have to be reworked if the federal money does not come through.

"We do not have funding in there now for the train station and that particular improvement related to that unless the Tiger grant is funded. If the Tiger grant is funded we'll be able to add that road connector."

The neighborhood is showing its age, and McLemore says rebuilding this road and what is underneath should do a big deal to help with construction jobs now, and economic improvements after the work is done.

"It's going to be a tremendous asset to the community. It's going to look different. It's going to look much better than it was. I think the residents will be very proud of it."

A new bridge is also planned for Orange Avenue over the Halifax River to replace the draw bridge that currently serves residents. The cost for that bridge is estimated at $46 million, and it will also require federal tax money.

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