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Where is the leadership in the Park service?

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We just traveled over from Navarre to Pensacola Beach and were happily surprised to see the road had been widened and recently paved. It looks great, but I still look east toward the Sound and see the dirty Oreo sand where broken asphalt has changed the color of the once pristine white dunes.

I just do not get it. These roads will disintegrate in a tropical storm. I have argued this on the PNJ for ten years and for at least three years here, that the roads are not constructed correctly. When a storm surge hits the dunes it spills the sand over the road. You would think the road would disintegrate on the south side, but the water deposits sand on the south edge and then undercuts the north end as the sand collapses and then the blacktop crumbles. All is needed is a backhoe and going three to five feet down and putting white three to six inch Bahamian limestone as a base on the north shoulder. You would finish that shoulder off with a six inch concrete cap using fiber mesh concrete with NO rebar. The problem is once you do this people will be able to park along the shoulder which the park service would rather control where people go in the park, than stop the Oreo machine from destroying more pristine beach. Yes, it would cost more money, but I think I have a solution for all concerned. Simply designate parking areas along the road and have parking ticket machines where a visitor could purchase a parking pass for seven dollars. The ticket would be displayed on the dashboard and parking authority folks would constantly drive through and monitor the cars issuing steep parking tickets for those who just pull along the road.

I understand that the Park service does not want some areas to have visitors because there might be nesting birds or environmentally sensitive areas.......you simply post no parking in those areas. The idea that 13 miles of blacktop will disintegrate and pollute this beautiful park disgusts me. However, what disgusts me more is the arrogance of the park service to restrict visitors who want to park and enjoy an isolated section of the beach. The revenues from the parking could maintain the hardened north shoulder and allow a great and unique beach experience where folks are turned off by the mobs at PB and Navarre. So the result is that the dumb asz administrators just put fresh blacktop down without any hardening and certain pollution and road closures will follow.....by design.

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2seaoat wrote:We just traveled over from Navarre to Pensacola Beach

Did you see two old geezers on matching black bikes? We biked down to the core to meet up with the Bookmobile in the Casino lot around 11:45, then crossed over to have lunch at Subway, then biked home. Mostly on side streets, but on Via de Luna part of the time. Anyway, despite your disgruntlement at the road situation on 399, hope you enjoy your time here. It's a gorgeous day. I'm heading out for some sun on the rear deck -- BBL.

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Did you see the six man park service construction crew putting in speed bumps.....insane. I am ready to write a letter to the editor disclosing who I am because I am so mad with what they have done. The asphalt chunks are obscene and this beautiful stretch of road has been destroyed, and the new blacktop will simply destroy the once pristine white sand.......it looks like a vacant lot in phoenix........speed bumps that rattle your teeth crossing at 10mph as the car behind you squeals on their brakes to avoid rear ending you..........government employees.......please beam me up scotty.

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2seaoat wrote:Did you see the six man park service construction crew putting in speed bumps.....insane.   I am ready to write a letter to the editor disclosing who I am because I am so mad with what they have done.  The asphalt chunks are obscene and this beautiful stretch of road has been destroyed, and the new blacktop will simply destroy the once pristine white sand.......it looks like a vacant lot in phoenix........speed bumps that rattle your teeth crossing at 10mph as the car behind you squeals on their brakes to avoid rear ending you..........government employees.......please beam me up scotty.

Where was this, exactly? In the GINS? Ahead of Opal Beach? I wasn't anywhere near the National Seashore today, if that's what you're still talking about.

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They installed at least two of the speed bumps. They are not very wide and they are unconscionably high. The warning signs are too late and at night with the usual fog and mist you rattle your teeth at 35 mph. What are they thinking. There were six park service employees in vehicles installing these speed bumps. I have a suggestion. We should call the Milton dump and have them start dumping on the once pristine drive between Navarre and PB. At least that would be honest. Every inch of the north side of that bike path will crumble and be disbursed among the shrinking dunes and already oreo colored sand.

These folks think somebody going 35mph is the problem. The problem is these environmental nazis want to restrict the use of the national seashore. The PB side of the trip has areas where citizens can park along the road and enjoy the beach. The wisely put snow fence a few years back along the south side and you have protective dunes right up to the road which needs to be cleared with equipment, but that front edge will be protected in a hurricane, while the Park service did nothing to reinforce the shoulder or harden the shoulder with a concrete cap on the base rock which would stop the undercurrent action and crumbling blacktop. Do these idiots really think the problem is citizens going five mph over the speed limit?. The problem is the Park Service.

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You still didn't tell me exactly where these speed bumps are. I'm thinking they're perhaps temporary, in advance of shore bird nesting sites, especially if people aren't observing the 25 mph speed limit in the nesting areas. But you give me no clue.

As for the crumbled blacktop along the roadway, remnants of past storms, there is money allocated for clean-up and it's a five year project. They've already done wonders on the Fort Pickens end, but it will take time.

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If they do not harden these roads, they will crumble. I deal with this issue on my islands. I understand how a flooding river attacks a road, and where a road will crumble. My roads are gravel. If I use smaller gravel, it will dissipate in a flood. So I use three to six inch limestone which locks up when I compact it. I then put a light dusting of fine gravel over the compacted and locked up limestone. The flood comes and blows away the fines, but the road maintains its integrity because of that interlocking limestone. When the storm surge comes washing across the blacktop, it falls into the sand on the north side of the road and eats the underlying sand away and the road crumbles. Why allocate money to clean it up when they have not solved an obvious and easily solvable problem.

The 13 miles of roadway has two speed bumps. I did not look at my odometer, nor were there mile markers where I could give you any more specific location that there are two speed bumps between Navarre and PB which have inadequate warnings and are entirely improper on a road with a posted speed limit of 35. It would barely be acceptable at a posted 25 mph, and I mean they can damage your car. The wider transition speed bumps are less damaging to your vehicle, and have a lower risk of somebody over reacting after hitting them with no warning.

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It's unclear where Sea is talking about regarding speed bumps but as to the road inside the GINS allow me to relate what I came to believe is the circumstance within the park itself.  They are limited as to what can be done to mitigate storm damage certainties.  Currently it is a certainty that with only a unusually high tide coupled with a low pressure system along the coast it will push water over the existing roadway.  Fragments of asphalt are being removed, bit by bit, as their budget allows but it is highly unlikely that it will ever be free of such contaminants and I certainly agree that it is an eyesore.  The hardening of the shoulders to withstand flooding waters from the Gulf will remain a challenge because of the limitations imposed on the Park Service that the park itself must remain in as much of a natural pristine state as possible with minimum man made interference.  I agree that the proper use of hardening of the shoulders with limestone will help, i.e., until flood waters pass over it. It cannot withstand that onslaught by mother nature bringing us back to where we are . . . . open the road and fix the road.  My two cents>

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With me it is simple. You do not build a road without a proper base anywhere. In my project, I have worked for years slowly building up the base and hope to top it off late this year with a solid road. When you build a road on sand, the road surface will crumble. However, if you put just two feet of interlocking limestone above sand it will withstand all but the worst storm surges. I saw Opal disintegrate concrete pillars in Navarre in the 90s, and certainly a road can be compromised, but the beauty of a storm surge is that it pushes sand over the road surface and protects the same, except where the water exits. It creates a boil and undercuts the road. If there is no base, it crumbles. If there is a base to beyond the shoulder it is exposed, but the water cannot boil and undercut the roadbed. Sadly, when I would argue this with the Park service surrogates on the PNJ, they would argue that it would be expensive, and the rock would dissipate like the blacktop......every civil engineer worth their weight knows about basketing base rock where there is the possibility of a wash out. You can use strong long lasting pvc or metal to bundle the base rock and then cap it with concrete. The real reason they do not do proper shoulder work is that folks could park on shoulders. People actually stopping where they wanted to enjoy the national seashore is a loss of power for the park service. The debate for one hundred years in the same has been those who advocate more public access, and those who want to keep the public away from a pristine park.......in this case it is absurd. The oreo destruction of once pristine beaches and dunes should allow open access to the public, with solid shoulders and properly built roads.

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The speed bumps are about one mile west of Opal beach and two miles East of Opal Beach. I think Linda is probably right that they are temporary and are protecting nesting birds. The warning signs are still inadequate, and I would like to see the science of how birds nesting are protected by a reducing the speed limit from 35 to 25, thus requiring speed bumps.

http://www.pnj.com/story/news/local/pensacola/beaches/2017/03/06/shorebird-nesting-season-gulf-islands-national-seashore/98812258/

It still does not make a bit of sense to me. I mean where is this abundance of road kill to justify somebody's opinion that going ten miles per hour slower saves birds. i have serious doubts there has been any science involved, and pure unadulterated pulling chit out of thin air. I get wanting to protect native animals in their environment, but I do not see a quantitative difference between 35 and 25, but if it was 15 mph yes.....wildlife could avoid cars.

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OK Sea I'm glad you figured it out, even if it doesn't make sense to you. Obviously we're shooting in the dark here without being able to ask the Park Service people about the science behind this. I know what you mean about 25 mph not seeming to be slow enough for the wildlife to avoid us if they've wandered into the roadway, but am thinking maybe it's more about our avoiding them than the other way around. Again, just stabbing around looking for an answer; we need some expert input. In any case seems to me it's got to be hard to see a tiny puffball of a chick in the roadway. And for some reason, they RAISED the speed limit in the nesting areas this year from 20 mph, as it's been in recent years, to 25. No clue what the thinking was on that, either.

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As for the "abundance of road kill," they always talk as if they know the numbers killed every year. Don't know how that would be, unless they're patrolling every inch of the road looking for birdie bodies all day and night, before they get snatched up by predators. But once more, we need some better info on this and I'm too sleepy right now to go looking, even if there's more out there on the Internet.

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P.S. Safe travels home tomorrow, Sea. Do hope you'll be able to make it back.

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