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With federal dollars provided by the Florida Department of Transportation, Volusia County will improve the safety of Old New York Avenue in the coming months.

The County Council has accepted a $1.7 million grant from the FDOT for the addition of paved shoulders along both sides of the road that connects West State Road 44 (New York Avenue) and the DeLand Amtrak station. The county is responsible for a local match totaling $189,000. The road to be improved is approximately 1.3 miles long.

“What we’ve got is a substandard roadway,” County Engineer Tadd Kasbeer told The Beacon.

Old New York Avenue, he said, now has lanes that are nine or 10 feet wide, rather than the safer 11- or 12-foot widths of newer roads. 

“The addition of the paved shoulders gives more room. If you’re passing a long vehicle [on the existing road], you may go into the grass,” Kasbeer added. “If you have a flat tire, you need more space.”

The timetable for the project calls for the opening of sealed bids from would-be contractors in January 2022. Kasbeer said the actual construction of the shoulders will probably begin “by April or May.” Construction will take “about eight months,” he added.

The grant agreement between the FDOT and the county sets a deadline of Jan. 1, 2023, for completion of the project.

That agreement describes the scope of the work.

“Portions of Old New York Avenue will be widened with up to 3-foot wide full depth shoulders to allow for 11-foot travel lanes,” the document reads. “The existing roadway pavement will be milled and resurfaced starting west approximately at Grand Avenue to State Road 44. The project will also include driveway reconstruction, tie-ins to side streets, and minor drainage improvements. Other construction elements include … erosion/sedimentation control, clearing and grubbing including removal of concrete, stabilized subgrade, base course, asphalt course, sodding, signing and pavement markings, and mailbox replacement. Drainage improvements includes [sic] regrading open ditches, installation of ditch bottom inlets, and pipe.”

Asked if the attention to Old New York Avenue is a result of the latest actions to bring SunRail service to DeLand — which will include the construction of a new depot and parking lot separate from but adjoining the Amtrak property, Kasbeer replied, “It’s not tied to that [SunRail]. This is money that we got from the state under the Local Agency Program.”

The Local Agency Program is a transportation partnership between state and local governments. 

Even though there is some uncertainty and volatility in the petroleum markets, with the possibility of increases in prices for asphalt, Kasbeer said the contract, once awarded and approved by the County Council, is firm, and the winning contractor may not be entitled to receive extra cash from the county to cover any loss on the project.

“This being a federally funded project, we would not be adjusting any of the price,” he said.

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