Coming around the bend: Kelly Street improvements take shape

Savannah Vasquez
The five-way intersection along Kelly Street is nearing completion.

It will soon be smooth sailing for cars, bicycles and pedestrians along Kelly Street as improvements that began in the fall of 2014 are quickly shaping up. In November, the city of Destin began phase two of the Kelly Street improvement plan that was to see the 0.77-mile stretch of the roadway from Calhoun Avenue to Benning Drive re-paved. In addition to new asphalt, the road was also to gain a new eight-foot sidewalk on the south side of the road, bicycle lanes, and a new drainage system for storm water.

The Log caught up with City Engineering Assistant Joe Bodi to get an update on the construction progress.

“It’s actually progressing quite well,” said Bodi. “We are still moving forward. We plan on milling within the next week and then shortly after that, putting on the last lift of asphalt.”

The most crucial point of the Kelly Street improvement, as detailed by City Engineer David Campbell, was the five-way intersection where Stahlman Avenue, Flamingo Drive and Kelly Street meet. That portion of the road had failed to the point of exposed clay, which meant the entire curve of the road had to be completely demolished and rebuilt.

Today, the curve has been re-paved and island curbs have been put in leaving only Flamingo Street still under construction. 

“The five-way intersection is actually looking really good,” said Bodi. “It just needs one more lift of asphalt then striping before it is finalized.”

As for the islands in the center of the road, Bodi said those will act as a passive channeling device.

“Hopefully those will slow people down,” he said.

The new storm water drainage pipes and swales are also well underway. A large pile of foliage debris lies along Hickory Street, as the area is being cleared for the new piping.

“Most of the pipes are already laid,” Bodi said. “We are down to our last run of pipe that will run along Stahlman, then across Kelly Street to Hickory and into the wetlands.”

As for the eight-foot sidewalk on the south side of Kelly Street, Bodi said most of the work has been completed.

“The sidewalks should be finished in a week to 10 days,” he said. “We still have some drainage piping to put in and structures, but then that project should be finished.”

Bicycle lanes are planned to run on both sides of the street from Sibert Avenue to Benning Drive, but Bodi said that will be the last item of the project.

“It will be a painted-on bike lane,” said Bodi. “A few power poles need relocating before the ribbon curbing can be done and the bicycle lanes compacted.”

The process of curbing and compacting asphalt for the lanes will take approximately 14 to 21 days, but the Kelly Street project overall is running ahead of schedule.

“The contractor has until May 10 to finish the project, but they are actually looking to be done ahead of time,” he said. “It’s a bit messy right now, but in the end it’s going to turn out to be a sharp looking project.”

Although the project has seen quick progress, Bodi told The Log that funding for repaving of the road from Calhoun to Sibert has been put on hold following a deficit.

“We ran out of money to complete the project from Sibert to Calhoun,” he said. “We still need to mill and resurface what is there now.”

The original budget for the Kelly Street Phase Two project was $9 16,229.90 and Bodi said additional funds will be requested from the city for milling and resurfacing that portion of Kelly Street from Calhoun to Sibert.

“We are actually going to bring it up to city council and try to get the money to complete the project,” he said.