Foley residents in the area of Graham Creek Nature Preserve may be getting a second way to reach the Foley Beach Express other than using County Road 12. Preliminary discussions were started at the April 18 city council meeting.

During the meeting, the council also accepted a bid for $4.5 million to extend Juniper Street south past Miflin Road then taking a turn west to connect to State Route 59 at the County Road 20 South intersection. These projects and an intersection study for Michigan Avenue and Juniper Street north of County Road 20 were all traffic projects discussed at the meeting.

While the Juniper Street extension project is expected to start by summer of 2022, the Wolf Bay Drive extension is still in the planning stages.

“The Wolf Bay extension is a little more complicated,” Mayor Ralph Hellmich said. “It’s on our books. Now, we’ve been actively designing that one and talking to the landowners because we’re going to have to have a little bit of property for that because it runs alongside an edge of the nature preserve and there’s already a sewer line there that was put in years ago to serve a subdivision down there that Riviera did.”

The council looked over two possible routes during the joint work/regular session. Currently, Wolf Bay Drive goes west starting near Moccasin Bayou and serves several subdivisions before making a 90-degree turn north to County Road 12 just past the nature preserve.

“This proposed extension would create a second route by connecting to Philomene Holmes Boulevard to the Foley Beach Express,” City Administrator Michael Thompson said. “Staff is seeking council’s OK to fund the design work of the project this fiscal year. If approved, we anticipate its construction cost to be included in the budget for next fiscal year.”

The eventual connection will be at Roscoe Road and the beach express.

“That Wolf Bay Extension will give the folks on the Graham Creek Peninsula another way out,” Hellmich said. “It will also relieve some of the pressure on County Road 12 and that intersection because they’ll be able to come out further south.”

Other work at the intersection of County Road 12 and Wolf Bay Drive will be completed much sooner than the extension but Hellmich said some improvements are needed there as well.

“The intersection at Wolf Bay Drive and County Road 12 is a one-way stop,” he said. “If you’re coming out of Wolf Bay Drive from the Graham Creek Peninsula that is a one-way stop. We’re going to make it a three-way stop and kind of redesign that because the majority of traffic nowadays is really coming from Wolf Bay Drive. We’re getting a lot more traffic that way. So, we’re going to make it there to slow traffic down. We’ve had a lot of complaints about traffic along there and speeding.”

The city will pay Sawgrass Consulting about $224,000 for field survey and right of way mapping, roadway design and route planning, structure design and hydraulic study, environmental permitting and preliminary investigation and testing.

The council hired Thompson Engineering for $107,000 to begin design studies for intersections at four locations: Michigan Avenue and Juniper Street; Michigan Avenue and Hickory Street; Michigan Avenue and Cedar Street; and Azalea Avenue and Juniper Street.

“We really had to use the traffic studies to figure out what would work and we were hoping we could use more traffic circles,” Hellmich said. “However we’re very restricted in some of those and the traffic circles may not work. We do have one spot where a traffic circle will work and that’s on Cedar Street and Michigan. We’ve got room there, we can do that. The others will most likely be signals based on what the engineering designs will be because we just don’t have enough right of way.”