FDOT reduces speed limit change on Maricamp Road

Motorists drive on Southeast Maricamp Road east of the intersection of Southeast 25th Avenue. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette]

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Posted January 18, 2022 | By James Blevins

Motorists drive on Southeast Maricamp Road east of the intersection of Southeast 25th Avenue. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette]

In a letter dated November 23, 2021, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) informed the City of Ocala and Marion County that the speed limit from East of Southeast 25th Ave. to SR 35 (SR 464) would be changed from 55 mph to 50 mph.

The regulations become effective upon placement of the implementing traffic control devices, according to the letter, but no sooner than 14 days from the date of the letter.

The letter written by James Stroz, Jr., District Traffic Operations Engineer, District Five, and addressed to Division Head for the City Darren Park and Marion County Administrator Mounir Bouyounes said the reduction in speed “evolved from recommendations determined from an approved engineering study and report,” the letter continued.

The city council had previously instructed city staff to contact FDOT with traffic concerns on Maricamp.

Ty Chigizola, Director of Growth Management for the City of Ocala says this change was the result of those communications. He wrote in an email, “We are working with FDOT on the proposed resurfacing project on Maricamp (they are reducing the speed on that one segment, adding sidewalks from SE 36th Ave to Baseline, adding bike lanes and maybe adding landscaping in the median from the church to the city limits) Goals: slow the speed, reduce accidents and increase pedestrian safety, especially adding the sidewalks for the high school.”

A recent traffic study to support nearby development identified “98 crashes reported within 500 feet of the signalized intersection of SR 464 and Southeast 24th Street between the years of 2016 and 2020.

“Over 50% of those crashes were rear end collisions, and approximately 33% were categorized as unknown or other,” the study continued. “All crashes categorized as unknown crash type (24) occurred in 2016 and 2017.”

FDOT Public Information Director Jessica Ottaviano said via email on Jan. 7 that safety was at the forefront of the decision to reduce the speed limit along SR 464 from east of S.E. 25th Avenue to west of S.E. 38th Street.

“The adjustment was made following recommendations by FDOT engineers and an analysis of traffic data from the field,” she said. “This section of SR 464 now has a speed limit similar to the adjacent segments of SR 464. By reducing the speed limit from 55 mph to 50 mph, motorists will now experience a better, controlled transition between these sections, enhancing safety in the area.”

Ottaviano further stated that “FDOT is always looking for opportunities to enhance mobility and safety along its roadways, whether it’s results of frequent facility evaluations or following an incident or even a concern requested by someone in the community. Results from these reviews and requests may vary in size and the effort to implement the recommendations.”

While the speed limit adjustment was recommended following a facility evaluation and could be implemented by a maintenance work order, Ottaviano added, recommendations may require a large-scale effort to implement the improvements such as through an upcoming or altogether new construction project.

For more information about the construction projects in Marion County, searchable by roadway and different phases of construction, please visit the FDOT’s Central Florida project website at cflroads.com/projects/County/Marion.

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