Sixty years after his grandfather received a certificate of appreciation for donating land for the construction of CR 337 in Newberry, Mayor Jordan Marlowe and the rest of the Newberry Commission voted to request that Alachua County establish a rural highway improvement program and move that same road to the top of the list.

Newberry City Manager Mike New presented the idea during a regular meeting on Monday.

Sharp corners, crumbling pavement and no shoulders are at the top of the list of reasons why the two-lane road that is a popular shortcut between Newberry and Bronson is in dire need of repair, New said.

"When we want a certain road paved, chipped, sealed, nearly every time we say the appropriate time to talk about that is during budget planning," New said.

Now that budget planning season is in full swing for local governments and Alachua County, New presented a resolution to ask the Alachua Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) for two things: First, to establish an annual rural highway resurfacing and improvement program with appropriate funding, and second, to move widening and repair of CR 337 to the top of that list.

Alachua and Levy counties share the maintenance of CR 337. Alachua County's portion starts at Highway 26 (Newberry Road), just west of downtown Newberry.

The roughly 14-mile-long road has had its share of accidents and fatalities, which New said is the driving force behind giving it priority maintenance. Alachua County is responsible for the upkeep of 8.4 of those miles.

According to New and the resolution, the Florida Highway Patrol reported 48 crashes in the last five years along CR 337 including three fatalities.

"We all know it's an unsafe road," New said.

He referred to a 2011 county road improvement list that once had CR 337 as the fifth project. Two of those projects have been completed, New told the commission.

"Here we are a decade later, and nothing has changed," he said.

Currently, CR 337 measures 18 feet wide and has no shoulder. New said that the road was not built up to today's standard of 24 feet wide with a paved shoulder for bicycles.

The two 90-degree bends are not properly banked," he said.

Marlowe said a lot of Alachua County residents believe there is a prioritized list of rural roads to repair, but the county abandoned it years ago. He said it makes sense to bring it back. 

"A list gives everyone a goal," Marlowe said. "A sense that the roads will be addressed."

Marlowe added that he is excited to present the idea to the BOCC. New said he was going to encourage other municipalities to make the same request.

"My intention is to email a copy of the resolution to all of the other city managers and encourage them to present a similar resolution to the BOCC," New said.

According to Alice LaLonde, administrative coordinator of the Levy County Road Department, Levy is in the process of advertising for a contractor to tackle its five-mile section of the road with widening and a shoulder. 

"That would be nice if their portion is paved close to when we have ours done," she said.

Mainstreet Daily News Reporter

Suzette Cook is a Mainstreet Daily News reporter who has been a community journalist for more than 30 years.

(8) comments

Guest

Alachua County BCC needs to change gears and focus on road repairs. Too many Subdivisions are being built without infrastructure such as roads and new schools. Hire a road maintenance director and start Repairing these roads before anyone gets hurt by the roads conditions!

EFudd

We all know and dodge the multiple cement trucks that use Newberry Road to go east daily before dawn, but also north and south, at what--- 100 per day starting before dawn? Every day. We know that the State pays for SOME new pavement. But the rest--- forget repair, just a little tar and stones off a County truck? I would like to see the accountability and agreements for all of this. The myriads, endless 18 wheelers and warehouses pay NOTHING like what the State does.

Guest

Alachua County BCC tax dollars wasted and tax dollars poorly spent the tax payers of Alachua County should know where the fuel tax was spent on. The City of Alachua and City Newberry Should demand accountability to where the money went because are local roads are unsafe.

Guest

If you had ever driven on 235A that road is a Safety issue for all travelers.That road is a disgrace to the taxpayers and citizens of Alachua county.

Guest

They have been collecting taxes on gasoline sales all these years that is supposed to be used for road improvement. Where has the money gone?

Guest

Alachua County Board of Commissioners have been collecting fuel taxes money for 75years. The BCC just puts its in the general fund so the can pay All their inexperienced managers which other comments call them the 1%. from Marion County transplants. These locals roads will never get Repaved the BCC care more about parks and homeless then their taxpayers.

Guest

The City of Alachua has been Begging Alachua County BCC to repair and replace CR235 due to the lack of maintenance and the Abuse of the 18 wheelers. It’s not your local residents and taxpayers that are destroying 235A it’s all the commercial vehicles from the Distribution Warehouses that are profiting from the taxpayers infrastructures. TO ALL COMMISSIONERS SEND THE REAIR BILL TO THE Distribution centers because the Residence backs are broken.

Guest

I Totally agree with this article but get in a very long line for road repairs or paving Alachua County are behind $96 million on road maintenance. Can the Alachua County BCC or the 5 county managers explain that to the tax payers. Taxation without representation.

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