After reading Hardy Jackson's excellent column on 30A and the Redneck Riviera in last week's Sun, I felt compelled to write to you about how this wonderful highway has now seemingly become a victim of its own success in some locations.
Any resident of Seagrove Beach, living close to County Highway 30A, can't have failed to notice or experience the traffic tie-ups at the junction with the 395 this spring.
Largely caused by the volume of vehicles headed west into Seaside and beyond, the line-up has sometimes extended for more than a mile-back to the Tom Thumb Gas Station — and beyond. Each year, at peak vacation periods, the problem seems to get worse. I have not heard whether the county has a solution to the issue, although some local residents have aired their thoughts quite vociferously around the subject of traffic circles and/or road diversions.
However, it would seem to me that there is one relatively low-cost solution that would at least ease the situation by improving the capacity of the road as follows:
Instead of having a crossing for the bike path from the south Gulfside of the Highway to the north side just west of Whiskey Bravo (near Gardenia Street), extend the path further along the south side to cross over to the north side just west of the junction with 395 at V Restaurant. This effectively removes pedestrians and cyclists from the junction who now inevitably only add to the delays.
Use the space now occupied by the redundant bike path on the north side of 30A, between Whisky Bravo and the junction with 395, to create an additional west-bound driving lane for traffic turning north toward WaterColor Crossing and Highway 98.
It would also be useful to similarly add a separate turning lane on the south bound side of 395 for traffic turning right toward Seaside along west-bound 30A.
Additional benefits from this scheme could be gained from the opportunity to resolve the severe ponding problem in heavy rain conditions along that stretch of 30A between Whiskey Bravo and the 395. In addition, it would also reduce the incidence of vehicles using Grove Street as a way around the problem which already is causing trauma to those back roads with the appearance of some major potholes marring the road surfaces.
Naturally various utilities will have to be moved or adjusted and homeowners on both sides of that stretch of 30A would face some disruption during construction. However the long-term gains should outweigh the short term inconvenience.
I would be very interested in hearing a response from either our elected representatives and/or local officials at Walton County on this matter.
Gordon Ashdown is a Seagrove Beach resident. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org