CHIPLEY The Washington County School District is expected to request that the Florida Department of Transportation not remove the traffic signal located at the intersection of Highway 90 and 2nd Street.
The traffic signal has long been eyed by the state for potential removal following the completion of the new Chipley High School on Brickyard Road in 2000, which left the old high school campus on 2nd Street seeing a major reduction in traffic counts.
Currently, the signal is in a design phase, and plans call for its removal as part of the Highway 90 resurfacing project from the Vernon Highway to the end of the four-lane east of Chipley.
The proposed project consists primarily of milling and resurfacing the roadway, which includes other improvements such as replacing and/or extending sidewalks, the paving of shoulders, and paving side street turnouts.
Washington County School Superintendent Joe Taylor says the school district is hopeful the state will allow the signal to remain as an additional safety measure for school buses, which are largely housed at the districts bus barn, which is located on Watts Ave., right off 2nd Street.
When our Chipley buses come back to the bus barn, nearly all of them turn at that signal, said Taylor.
In fact, every bus in the Chipley fleet will turn at that light at some point during the day. Buses arent exactly known for their speed and quickness and without that signal, [Highway 90 and 2nd Street] could become a very dangerous intersection.
Taylor went on to say the signal gives bus drivers a control point which will help slow other traffic down.
If our bus drivers are taking a left, especially if you have three or four in a row and you have someone approaching over that hill, there would be no expectation for anyone to stop. It is a benefit to the safety of our students to leave the light, and we appreciate the FDOT staff for considering our request.
FDOT Public Information Specialist Tanya Branton stresses that plans are still in the early stages, and the state has not yet signed off on taking down the device.
A final decision to remove the signal has not been made at this time, said Branton The department will continue to work with local entities on this issue.