Traffic signal going up at intersection of SR 77 and 273

CHIPLEY – Work is underway for a traffic project many in the community say is long overdue.

Florida Department of Transportation is currently working to install a traffic signal at the intersection of State Road 77 and County Road 273, also known as the Campbellton Highway.

FDOT District 3 Public Information Officer Ian Satter says the decision to install the signal was made after the agency completed a traffic study in August 2019. A traffic study typically consists of collecting data, projecting traffic volumes, and identifying required improvements.

“The traffic study showed that a signal was warranted,” said Satter. “Those studies consider several aspects, from the number of accidents to the volumes of traffic on the roads. The traffic volume is a large factor.”

Campbellton Highway resident Candi Flater can see the intersection from her home and says she has witnessed the traffic flow issues firsthand, even witnessing and responding to assist at the scene of several crashes over the years.

“The speed limit in that area is 35mph, but people rarely obey that,” said Flater. “People will sit at that caution light waiting to go left, get frustrated, and pull out in front of traffic on Highway 77. Traffic also gets really backed up there. It can be dangerous for us to even turn into our driveway.”

Several other residents expressed similar concerns in a community meeting last year with Chipley Police Chief Scott Thompson and Chipley Mayor Tracy Andrews. Mayor Andrews took those concerns to FDOT in hopes of spurring action.

According to Chipley Police Department reports, five crashes occurred at the intersection between January 2020 and April 2021. Chief Scott Thompson says he anticipates the addition of a signal will help reduce the number of accidents there.

“It’s a good idea,” said Chief Thompson. “I think the signal will alleviate some of the congestion there of all the traffic coming in and out.”

Sheriff Kevin Crews, who recalls working two separate fatalities at the intersection years ago, agrees.

“This signal will definitely be useful in getting drivers to slow down and be more mindful,” said Sheriff Crews. “With the tourist traffic we’re seeing, along with the four-laning of 77, that area becomes very congested.”

Meanwhile, Flater is among local residents who say the traffic signal is a welcomed safety feature.

“We’re really excited about it because it’s going to help alleviate some of the back up and the frustrations,” she said. People are impatient drivers these days, and we’re hoping this will help alleviate some of that. With the amount of traffic coming in from this road going to and from Dothan, we’re surprised it wasn’t done sooner, but we’re glad it’s getting taken care of now.”

Any necessary lane closures will take place between 7 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. Off-duty law enforcement will be on-site to assist with traffic control. The $323,593.64 safety improvement project will be complete in about two months