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Nine Mile Road widening project

The Florida Department of Transportation is holding a public hearing about the widening of Nine Mile Road. That meeting is tomorrow, Tuesday June 24 from 5:30 to 6:30 PM at Plainview Baptist Church.

The proposed improvements include widening part of nine mile road from two to four lanes, installing additional drainage and storm water treatment ponds, and constructing sidewalks.

What businesses and people around Nine Mile Road think of the possible road widening project.

This part of Nine Mile can be very busy especially during morning and evening rush hours.

That's why people who live in Bell Ridge Forest have concerns about widening the road. "It's already grown so much out here.

It's really congested" says Leigh Ann Beck, a resident of the neighborhood. People who live on West 9 Mile Road just above Interstate 10 are feeling some growing pains.

"They talked about putting a median" says Beck. Beck and her family have lived in the Bell Ridge Forest subdivision for a little more than 2 years.

She says the original plan included a median but no turning lanes for residents to use so they could easily get in and out of their own subdivision.

Bell Ridge Forest has a homeowners association and they took action as soon as the blueprints were released. "They came around door to door asking the residents to sign a petition against it" says Beck.

She says some negotiating with the Florida Department of Transportation has occurred since then and thinks everyone has come to an agreement.

"We're okay with widening, just want the turning lane in front of the neighborhood as well" says Beck.

 "We're looking forward to seeing the road expanded because we are expanding" says Debbie Calder with Navy Federal. Debbie Calder is the Senior Vice President of the Greater Pensacola Operations at Navy Federal Credit Union. She says more than 35 hundred people are working at this Navy Federal campus off West Nine Mile Road and the company expects even more employees in the near future.

"We've been growing between 400 to 600 employees a year" says Calder. In 10 years, the Credit Union hopes to have 9-10 thousand employees working on this campus.

"I would expect that it would encourage a lot more businesses to come out to this part of town" says Calder.

The hearing will be held here at Plainview Baptist Church on Tuesday. An open house will begin at 5:30, followed by a formal presentation.