POLK COUNTY — Several Lake Eloise Drive property owners and nearby residents recently petitioned the Polk Board of County Commissioners to install speed bumps on the residential road, which they say is being used to avoid congestion on Cypress Gardens Boulevard in Winter Haven.
“Traffic has picked up and picked up,” said Richard Hollings, who lives on Lake Eloise Drive. “And they go 60 to 65 (miles per hour) through there.”
Hollings was joined by others at a recent commission meeting, where the five-member county board agreed to spend the $16,000 it will take to install four speed bumps along the residential road.
“It's like living on a straight-away,” Richard Vallens told the commission. “We have a drag strip and I'm afraid for my grandchildren who live with me.”
The issue to solve the problem has been in the works for several months and included a community meeting, a majority property owner vote and numerous discussions with county road department officials.
Debra Watson, also a resident, told commissioners her property had been damaged twice when cars “crashed into a wall” and added that she was “always replacing mailboxes.”
Road department officials told commissioners the lengthy traffic calming process required an approval vote from at least 80 percent of the property owners, and this length of the Winter Haven street had received that support.
Officials said the two lane road is 20-feet-wide and contained 49 property owners.
“We have 39 ‘yes’ votes,” said Amy Gregory, the county's traffic manager.
Money to pay for the speed humps is set aside this fiscal year, but no timetable for the installation of the devices was presented when the commission unanimously approved the measure.