Gainesville starts first projects funded by infrastructure surtax

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Florida Construction News staff writer

A one-mile stretch of North Main Street is the first Gainesville road project funded by a half-cent infrastructure surtax dedicated to improving local infrastructure. The city has identified these capital projects as “Streets, Stations & Strong Foundations” (SSSF).

The resurfacing and restriping of North Main Street between 39th and 53rd Avenues began earlier this month and will include bike lanes in both directions. This SSSF project is expected to cost $1.2 million in funding from the surtax.

“The construction work should finish by spring of next year. However, the contractor is currently ahead of schedule and expects to complete the work in early February,” said City of Gainesville Public Works Director Brian Singleton.A second scheduled SSSF project is along Northeast Ninth Street. Now in the early planning stages, it’s expected to improve roadway safety and fix the pavement along a 1.5-mile strip from East University Avenue to NE 23rd Avenue.

City staff also is developing a survey that will be available online or as a printed handout at the workshop.

Changes will include wider sidewalks; additional crosswalks; eliminating street parking, creating curbside pull-out stops for buses, bus-stop shelters; and widening bike lanes or creating bike lanes physically separated from traffic.

“It is exciting to see physical progress with SSSF,” said Gainesville City Commissioner Reina Saco. “The City of Gainesville doesn’t have control over many roads inside our city but it is good to see staff and our contractors ahead of the game on the roads we do control,” said Gainesville City Commissioner Reina Saco.

“Making our streets, our sidewalks and our bike lanes safer for everyone is one of the best investments we can make with these funds,” she said.

Depending on which changes the commission approves, estimated costs for the Northeast Ninth Street SSSF project could fall between $3.2-6.2 million.

In November 2022, Alachua County residents voted for a one-cent sales tax levied for the next 10 years, expected to generate $17.4 million per year to the City of Gainesville. Fifty percent of surtax proceeds are dedicated to Wild Spaces Public Places projects. The remaining half is dedicated to road repair, public-safety buildings and land for affordable housing.

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