GETTING THERE: Change planned at dangerous Bay area intersection

By Chuck Henson, Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, November 08, 2017, 3:20 PM EST

On the corner of U.S. 98 and County Road 491 in Brooksville sits a small general store.

Deschamps Corner has been part of Donna Dilling's family for three generations, and during her time here, she has seen dozens of crashes.

But it was a crash in July 2016 that shook her to the core. Two people died in the crash, bringing the total of deaths at the intersection to seven in the last five years.

To make things safer, the state is planning to make some changes. The current interchange is out, and a roundabout is in.

There are stats that show roundabouts help. For example, at the intersection of State Road 33 and Deen Still Road in Polk County, the number of crashes there since the change has dropped dramatically.

But it is how this roundabout will impact Dilling's business that is causing some pushback. The original design for the new roundabout took the roadway almost up to her gas pumps.

"The plan is, it was originally they were going to come 134, 135 feet from the center of 98," Dilling said. "Now, to help me out they are going to go, like 74 feet from my side and 74 from the other."

That will protect the truck parking area in front of the business, but some local trucking companies aren't convinced the design will handle the larger semis that use U.S. 98.

David Botello with the Florida Department of Transportation has done the research and says it will handle the traffic.

"The roundabout's design will include truck aprons around the center which will provide a mountable curb for large vehicles to successfully navigate the intersection," Botello said.

If any modifications need to be made, there is plenty of time. Construction isn't scheduled to start for five years.