LIVE OAK — More than 10 years and $4 million later, Perimeter Road is a reality.
With officials from both Suwannee County and the City of Live Oak present Monday morning, the ribbon was cut commemorating the opening of the bypass that connects U.S. Highway 129 north of Live Oak with U.S. 90 to the east of the city.
“The visible accomplishment is this wonderful road that we can all utilize on a daily basis,” said Ricky Gamble, the chairman of the Suwannee County Board of County Commissioners. “But an equal accomplishment in my opinion not seen by many, are agencies, local governments and private partners, with all the internal changes year after year, remaining focused and working so hard to finally bring us to this day.”
Perimeter Road, which was finished and open for travel last week, was first discussed at a county commission meeting in January 2007, according to Debbie Vickers, with the Public Works office, who added the Development Authority had previously been discussing the road.
Vickers is the lone employee still in place from when the grant was first initiated, Gamble said.
The road then moved from talking point to ongoing project when the Florida Department of Transportation approved the project through the County Incentive Grant program, with the grant being signed on May 31, 2013, to green light the road.
Out of the $4.49 million the entire project cost, that grant provided approximately $3.96 million.
“There were some times that I wasn’t sure this was going to happen,” Mayor Sonny Nobles said as the project had to work through different hurdles, including obtaining the right-of-ways necessary to build the road.
“It’s a good day today. We made some good progress in our community with transportation. Hopefully this will alleviate some of our transportation problems.
“We all spent a considerable amount of money and a heck of a lot more time.”
But despite those bumps along the way, the road that runs from 72nd Trace next to Lowe’s along U.S. 129 to near the industrial park at U.S. 90 across from County Road 49, is now down and smooth for traffic.
“So to all the individuals who gave of their time — DOT, (Suwannee River) Water Management, City of Live Oak, the Development Authority, Music Construction, county and city staff, land owners along the route and private sector partners — on behalf of Suwannee County, thank you,” Gamble said. “Thank you for staying the course and thank you for a job well done.”