Starke Bypass Project-US 301 Corridor Improvements

Starke bypass mapThe Florida Department of Transportation is planning capacity improvements to US 301 through the city of Starke  urban area, from County Road 227 to County Road 233, in order to address the heavy congestion that prevents the corridor from functioning efficiently as part of a regional transportation link for freight, emergency vehicles, emergency evacuation, and the traveling public.

Three Alternatives were Evaluated:

  • The No Project Alternative would leave U.S. 301 in downtown Starke as a five-lane undivided facility, and in the rural areas south of town a four-lane divided.
  • The Urban Alternative (expand existing U.S. 301 through town) is developed as a six-lane controlled access arterial roadway centered on the existing alignment of U.S. 301 for much of the project length. The alignment varies only in locations where the existing curvature will not meet design speed standards or where land use constraints require shifting of the alignment to allow for a reduction of impacts. Within the downtown area of Starke a segment of the proposed alternative would be widened to include an auxiliary lane as a continuous right-turn lane.
  • The Rural Alternative (Bypass) is developed as a four-lane limited access freeway facility intended to route through traffic around the more developed and congested segments of U.S. 301 including the City of Starke. A limited access facility is proposed because it will: 1) afford increased safety; 2) have a higher average travel speed; 3) have a greater lane capacity; and 4) reduce the potential of urban sprawl in the rural areas.

Currently, the Rural Alternative is the locally preferred alternative. However, a final decision will not be made by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) until after a public hearing, which will be held later this year.

Public Information Meeting

A public information meeting was held Thursday, January 10, 2013 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Bradford County Fair Association Building 1 in Starke, Florida.

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) is available for public review at the Bradford County Library.   All comments must be provided no later than January 22, 2013.

What Does this Mean for Property Owners?

The Starke Bypass Project or US 301 Corridor Study Project will require the acquisition of private property.  The eminent domain laws of Florida direct the government to pay land owners just compensation, which includes business damages.  Unfortunately, the determination of just compensation often involves a wide range of issues that appraisers may neglect to consider, such as the highest and best use of property and damages to the remainder parcel.

They key issue in appraising property in an eminent domain case is knowing how to evaluate and determine severance damages, which is a valuation concept unique to these cases.  If the appraiser hired by the government doesn’t understand the full complement of issues and severance damages that should be included in the valuation, then the property owner will not receive just compensation.  Learn more about hiring an appraiser for eminent domain.

Property owners affected by this project should have an eminent domain attorney review their offer and appraisal before settling in this matter.  Florida eminent domain law requires the government to pay the property owners attorney’s fees and costs when pursuing a claim for just compensation as long as the judgment exceeds the last written offer prior to an attorney being hired.  Learn more about Florida Eminent Domain law and contact us with questions about the project or your rights as a property owner.

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