ALICE DU PONT
“We have the train on the right track now and I hope we can keep it moving forward,” said Mary Anne Thomas, wife to the late Sen. Pat Thomas on Oct. 25.
Thomas was speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Quincy By-Pass. She said the project was one that her husband worked very hard to get going. Thomas, a member of the Board of Director of MainStreet Quincy at the time of the project’s inception said merchants and citizens were eager for the By-Pass to preserve downtown from pollution of heavy trucks, fumes that were causing historic facades to deteriorate.
The new roadway will be 1.6 miles in length and will intersect U.S. Highway 90 just west of the Gadsden Regional Medical Center at Strong Road. The road will connect with State Road 12 west of the Quincy Municipal Airport.
The two-lane undivided roadway will have 12 foot travel lanes with 10-foot shoulders, five of which will be paved. There is also a 1,241 foot-long bridge being constructed and will span Quincy Creek.
Quincy Mayor Angela Sapp called the groundbreaking ceremony a “monumental event.”
“This will alleviate some of the downtown traffic and make it safer and prettier. This means 346 jobs for our citizens in Gadsden County over the next two years and we embrace the economic opportunity for growth,” she said.
County Commissioners Doug Croley, who served as chairman of Capital Regional Transportation Planning Agency, credits the late Sen. Pat Thomas with By-Pass concept and putting the wheels into motion.
“Perhaps sidetracked by his passing, the Quincy By-Pass became just another forgotten rural transportation project awaiting funding finally just dying down to a small glowing ember,” Croley said.
He said after his appointment to the CRTPA he heard from numerous citizens who had concerns about the hazardous traffic conditions around the Courthouse Square, especially the eastside, He reviewed the problem with Quincy City Commissioner Andy Gay, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director David Gardner and CRPTA executive director Harry Reed.
“This review confirmed the large truck traffic hazard and the ongoing emergency response issue that exist today. It also confirmed to me a very real need to move freight more efficiently within our county’s transportation system. With the mindset that completion of this By-Pass project would address multiple issues: emergency response, roadway safety and boost our local economy, I became a strong advocate within the CRPTA process for building it,” Croley said.
But, Croley added, none of the needs he addressed will be fully completed until the BY-Pass is extended further north to connect with Bainbridge Road and to the south to Pat Thomas Parkway.
Rep. Alan Williams called the project, “not just a road but and economic corridor.”
The $13,348,457.60 project was made possible because of the efforts of several agencies.
“Everyone stepped up to alleviate the cost, it was a struggle but today we celebrate this first phase,” said Tommy Barfield, District Secretary, Florida Department of Transportation.