Checking out Marion's roads to nowhere

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Column by Jim Clark

Four years ago, during the presidential campaign, we heard a lot of talk about a "bridge to nowhere." The votes for that project still haunt some politicians today.
Well, those folks have nothing on Marion County. We have roads to nowhere, lots of them, being built.
Yes, they're all supposed to connect up someday to form a western bypass, but meanwhile, there are some perfectly good roads sitting there unusable, because they don't hook up with anything.
There's a nice road off U.S. 27, which goes nowhere. There's a nice road in the southwest area, which goes nowhere. And they are rebuilding the 42nd Street, Southwest, extension, which goes nowhere at the moment, but which will link up to the new overpass when it is finished.
In fact, this can be dangerous. Several months ago, in the dark of night, a woman went down the new road off U.S. 27, and plowed into the end of the road. Her car flipped, and she was killed.
So the question is this: Why are they building this alleged bypass in bits and pieces? Why not build one part of the road, then open it to the public? Then they could build the next part, and open it to the public, and so forth. Then we wouldn't have any roads to nowhere.
Besides, if there's anything we can do to alleviate traffic, it should be done. State Road 200 over the past few weeks is a big-city type disaster, matching some of the road woes we see on Orlando television during rush hour. Visitors pulling out onto U.S. 27 from the motels and gas stations at the Interstate seem to have little disregard for oncoming traffic. They just enter or cross the road at will in areas where there are no traffic lights.
The difference between us and Orlando is that some of these tie-ups occur at all hours of the day.
Those of us who have to use part of 200 to get home after work (I come in early enough in the morning when most drivers aren't yet awake) can't wait to get off that road. Whether it's going up 80th or 60th, or taking 66th Street east to 27th Avenue, then going up to 42nd Street, that departure from Highway 200 can't come soon enough.
I'm still not convinced this bypass is going to help. In fact, I think it's going to make the area around Market Street worse on State Road 200, because traffic is going to back up from that intersection with the new overpass feeder road, possibly all the way back to the interstate.
We'll have to see how it works, but don't hold your breath hoping that traffic on the west side is alleviated.
Don't look to me for advice on how to avoid all these delays that are taking place.
My solution for the next month or so is to stay home, or go out real early in the morning or late in the evening.
I kind of like the stay home part. Unfortunately, I don't think my boss would agree.


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