Kelly Street to see much needed improvements

Matt Algarin
This five-way intersection along Kelly Street is one of the areas that will see improvements.

It may currently be a bumpy ride down portions of Kelly Street, but after Tuesday night’s City Council meeting that’s going to change.

With a unanimous vote, city leaders agreed to award a construction contract to H&T Contractors, LLC for the reconstruction of an approximately 3/4-mile stretch of Kelly Street from Benning Drive to Calhoun Avenue.

The Freeport-based company was the lowest bidder and will be on the hook for the complete reconstruction of the roadway, which includes grading and paving; the addition of bike lanes; asphalt resurfacing and striping/signage; realignment of the five-way intersection; stormwater facilities; construction of 8-feet concrete sidewalks on the south side of the road and 6-feet wide concrete sidewalks on the north side.

City Engineer David Campbell said the project should be completed within a 150-day schedule, by April 2015. The total project contract comes to $916,229.90, which includes funding for inspections by Jenkins Engineering, construction engineering services from Tetra Tech and a 7.5 percent contingency budget ($61,923.45).

It’s no secret that Kelly Street is in need of repair, as Councilman Tuffy Dixon has said in the past that it’s “horrible” and needed to be fixed quickly.

“The road, in my opinion, is an embarrassment to the city and hope we can get this project started soon,” Dixon told The Log. “I would like to apologize to the citizens for not getting it done sooner.”

While Dixon is critical of the road’s deficiencies, he says there have been some hurdles to jump and the city is working hard behind the scenes.

For his part, Councilman Jim Wood said the project is “critical” and would accomplish four things; pedestrian safety close to the school; an improved roadway; improvements to the five-point intersection; and stormwater improvement.

“I look forward to a safer and improved transportation system in Destin,” Wood said.