Tag Archives: transportation

Ockolocoochee, Little River 1889-01-29

Who knows the Ockolocoochee River? No, not the Ochlockonee River; that’s a bit to the west.

[Withlacoochee River labeled Suwanee R. in 1823 Irwin and 1834 Lowndes County maps; current WWALS Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail map]
Withlacoochee River labeled Suwanee R. in 1823 Irwin and 1834 Lowndes County maps; current WWALS Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail map

You do know the Ockolocoochee River as the Little River, of the Withlacoochee, of the Suwannee.

Here is news from 1889 that also includes the boat that didn’t survive from Troupville to Ellaville, which was apparently not a paddlewheel steamer. Continue reading

Asphalt-caused sewage spill in flooding on One Mile Branch in Valdosta 2023-12-03

Update 2023-12-19: Valdosta reports to GA-EPD about two recent sewage spills 2023-12-02.

Update 2023-12-15: This spill finally showed up in the GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report of 2023-12-12; see Yet another Valdosta E. Park Ave. sewage spill near Knights Creek 2023-12-11.

Update 2023-12-04: Added Valdosta Press Release.

After the recent rains, at least two houses on Pin Oak Circle at Lakeland Ave in Valdosta flooded again, attributed to a sewer leak by residents.

[One Mile Branch crossing Pin Oak Circle in a floodplain and location maps]
One Mile Branch crossing Pin Oak Circle in a floodplain and location maps

Valdosta Acting Utilities Director Jason Barnes just now on the telephone said it was caused by a piece of asphalt stuck in the sewer line. It took Utilities about an hour and 15 minutes Saturday to get it out. He did not know how it got there; maybe from previous street resurfacing. They will be doing further work today. He alerted GA-EPD Saturday, and is working on a press release this morning. It will be a spill, but probably not a major spill.

WWALS member Suzy Hall found this spill in a WALB TV story (see below). I located it by looking up the names from the story in the Lowndes County Tax Assessors Map.

One Mile Branch runs through their back yards, and we’ve seen flooding problems there before. Continue reading

Logging Railroads in the Okefenokee Swamp 1889-1942

Here are maps of logging railroads in the Okefenokee Swamp, and detailed maps of railroads and the town on Billys Island.

[Logging Railroads and Billys Island, Okefenokee Swamp]
Logging Railroads and Billys Island, Okefenokee Swamp

The Billys Island maps are by Chris Trowell or revised from his maps. As the redrawn map says, Billys Island is 1.8 miles from Stephen C. Foster State Park, upstream on the Suwannee River and its East Fork. As you can see by the map, it was quite a bustling place. Until the trees ran out.

I don’t know who drew the map of all the railroads in the Swamp, but I would guess Chris Trowell may have had something to do with it. This is presumably the same C.T. Trowell frequently cited in the documents for Floyds Island in the National Register of Historic Places, and his paper included, “Seeking a Sanctuary: A Chronicle of Efforts to Preserve the Okefenokee,” C.T. Trowell, 1998.

These railroads did not all exist at the same time, since they pulled up tracks from one place to go another place.

These maps came from a ranger at Stephen C. Foster State Park, back in 2021. Naturally, right now I cannot find the email he sent with the maps. Continue reading

Vegetative Buffer Encroachment on Mud Swamp Creek for Valdosta Old Clyattville Road Widening 2023-10-19

Valdosta’s widening of Old Clyattville Road will affect a drainage ditch out of the SAFT America battery plant on Gil Harbin Road, which is currently hiring. The drainage ditch goes into Mud Swamp Creek, which joins Grand Bay Creek east of Valdosta to form the Alaphoochee River, which flows into the Alapaha River just across the GA-FL line, and then into the Suwannee River.

The project will require mitigation bank credits, probably from the Cherry Creek Mitigation Bank, half of which was previously denied deannexation by the Valdosta Mayor and Council. The city hired TTL to do most of the application work, and apparently also Lovell Engineering Associates to plan the actual road work.

WWALS did not file any comments with GA-EPD, because we did not find any irregularities in the actual project. We did find some interesting tidbits in the application, such as a historic cemetery, railroad, and archaeological sites.

[Collage of Valdosta application for Vegetative Buffer Encroachment on Mud Swamp Creek for Clyattville Road Widening]
Collage of Valdosta application for Vegetative Buffer Encroachment on Mud Swamp Creek for Clyattville Road Widening

Also, the USGS Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) boundary for the Upper Mud Swamp (HUC 031103021001) is incorrect. We may contact USGS about that. Continue reading

Liquefied natural gas issue on Brightline railroad –Cecile Scofield in TCPalm 2023-11-12

Cecile Scofield got this op-ed into TCPalm, Sunday, November 13, 2023, “Liquefied natural gas issue on Brightline railroad”

According to a recent article, Brightline (Fortress Investment Group) is looking for land adjacent to existing tracks away from the St. Lucie River bridge in downtown Stuart. The property must also be able to support other development opportunities for Brightline.

In 2014, Florida East Coast Railway discussed moving liquefied natural gas on its network with the Federal Railroad Administration. On Sept. 24, 2014, AAF Holdings LLC filed an application with the Florida Development Finance Corp., for $1.75 billion in private activity bond financing for “All Aboard Florida.” About $440 million would be used to construct new track and rail between Cocoa and Orlando, the gateway to Tampa and the Panama Canal.

[Brightline Route to Disney World and Tampa Bay]
Brightline Route to Disney World and Tampa Bay

In November 2014, James Hertwig, former CEO of FECR, said he thought the laws would change where double-stacked 10,000-gallon liquefied natural gas international standards organization containers would run from South Florida to Jacksonville, creating a virtual rolling natural gas pipeline. However, the single-tracked St. Lucie River railroad bridge presented a problem. Constructing an LNG production facility in Stuart or north of Stuart could be a solution.

Continue reading

Videos: Quarterman Road rezoning unanimously denied @ LCC 2023-09-12

Update 2023-09-26: Curious omissions from the minutes; see Packet: Golf carts, mental health, wetland credits, regional transit, Lift Station and Fire Station Access Roads, 2 TIA Road Bids @ LCC 2023-09-25.

The Lowndes County Commission unanimously denied the inappropriate 2.5-acre rezoning proposed on minimum 5-acre and predominantly agriculture, forestry, and conservation Quarterman Road, after five local residents spoke against and nobody for.

[Collage, Quarterman Road rezoning denied by Lowndes County Commission 2023-09-12]
Collage, Quarterman Road rezoning denied by Lowndes County Commission 2023-09-12

Thanks to all who signed the petition against that rexoning, who called or wrote County Commissioners, who spoke in the Planning Commission or County Commission meetings, and thanks to the County Commisisoners for denying the rezoning.

Among the five who spoke at the County Commission were Gretchen Quarterman (who also took the videos for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE)) and Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman (details on both are below). He made sure the Commissioners had a copy of the WWALS letter that had mysteriously been left out of the board packet; thanks to WWALS President Sara Jay Jones for signing that letter.

This denial comes after two previous denials, both also in an Agriculture/Forestry/Conservation Character Area, both also provoking many petition signatures and speakers in opposition, including WWALS.

Maybe developers will get the picture that development is not appropriate in such a Character Area, especially when wetlands and waterways are affected.

County Planner

It is interesting the extent to which a development mindset can color a presentation by a County Planner. I was just going to mention one example of that, but as I listened to the LAKE video of his presentation, I kept noticing more examples. Continue reading

Valdosta Hurricane Related Road Closures 2023-09-06

Thank you, Valdosta City Engineer Ben O’Dowd!

So far as I’ve seen, this is the only map of road closures after Hurricane Idalia for any city or county in the Suwannee River Basin.

Hurricane Related Road Closures

This is a public map depicting the current active road closures within the City of Valdosta due to impacts from Hurricane Idalia

Hurricane Related Road Closures

  • Gornto Closure – 9/6/23
  • River Street Closure – 8/31/23
  • Westwood Drive Closure – 8/31/23
  • East Gordon Closure – 9/5/23
  • Oak Street Extension Closure – 8/31/23
  • Clay Road Closure – 9/5/23

Other Road Closures

  • Lake Park Road Closure – 7/15/23
  • Griffin Avenue Closure – 7/1/23

[Valdosta road closures 2023-09-06]
Valdosta road closures 2023-09-06

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can help with clean, swimmable, fishable, drinkable, water in the 10,000-square-mile Suwannee River Basin in Florida and Georgia by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations/

Lucille M. Norton Bridge across Grand Bay Creek dedicated 2006-07-09

Here’s a bridge named after a schoolteacher, the Lucille M. Norton Bridge across Grand Bay Creek in Lanier County, Georgia, on GA 31, aka US 221 and Lakeland Highway.

[Lucille M. Norton Bridge]
Lucille M. Norton Bridge

Kenna Walsh, Valdosta Daily Times, July 7, 2006, Updated September 12, 2014, Bridge to be named for Lucille Norton,

LAKELAND — This Sunday, a well known and loved Lakeland teacher will receive an eternal dedication. Lucille Norton, a native of Lanier County who died at age 86, taught home economics in Lakeland for 58 years. This Sunday, the bridge over Grand Bay Pond on U.S. 221 will be named in her honor at a 2 p.m. ceremony in the Lanier County Courthouse.

Continue reading

Road widening south of Grand Bay, Lakeland Highway, Lightsey Road to Shiner Pond Road 2023-07-18

Watch out for road work on Lakeland Highway across Grand Bay Creek.

[Map and Grand Bay Creek Bridge]
Map and Grand Bay Creek Bridge

The Public Notice doesn’t say when the work will start on GA 31 aka US 221 aka Lakeland Highway, but you have 30 days from yesterday to comment. I will ask for a copy of the application. Meanwhile, the Public Notice is below, and here is the gist of it (I added the links):

State Route 31 from State Route 7 to State Route 135
(GPS Coordinates: 30.97284, -83.10488; 30.90854, -83.18506)

The proposed project will impact the buffer of Open Water (OW) 4, OW 13, and OW 31. The project will add passing lanes at four sites in two interconnected corridors along State Route (SR) 31 in Lanier and Lowndes Counties. The project will impact the state mandated 25-ft buffer within the Suwannee Watershed (HUC 03110202). The disturbance will cover 5,903 square feet and include discharging of fill and clearing and grubbing to widen SR 31, culvert replacement, and the installation of Best Management Practices (BMPs).

GA 31 is commonly known as Lakeland Highway, and also as US 221.

The coordinates supplied actually put the southwest end of the road work just east of Lightsey Road aka CCC Road in Lowndes County, and the northeast end east of Shiner Pond Road aka Spells Road CR 12 in Lanier County.

[Map: Lakeland Highway widening in ARWT]
Map: Lakeland Highway widening in the WWALS map of the Alapaha River Water Trail (ARWT)

OW 4, 13, and 31 presumably are numbered for this particular project. I would guess Continue reading

FL Gov signed sprawl bill: need Rights to Clean Water 2023-06-08

Thanks to everyone who asked the Florida Governor to veto the sprawl bill, HB 359 / SB 540. But he signed it anyway, so now anyone who sues to stop a comprehensive plan change and loses has to pay the other side’s legal bills.

And the Supreme Court drastically limited the scope of the Clean Water Act in its decision in Sackett II.

Now we really need Right to Clean Water in Florida as a constitutional amendment. Please sign the petition and ask all your Florida registered voter friends and relatives to do so.
https://www.floridarighttocleanwater.org/petition

With enough signatures, the RTCW petition can get a constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2024, and there is nothing the legislature or governor can do to stop it.

[Right to Clean Water, FL SB 540]
Right to Clean Water, FL SB 540

Georgians, please encourage Floridians to sign the petition.

Here’s an explanation of why other means won’t work,
“Floridians who’ve been following along know that we are not going to achieve anything remotely resembling such protections through legislative action, which is why supporting this amendment is a no-brainer.”

Cheryl Lasse, Palm Beach Post, June 8, 2023, New Florida law and court ruling leave state’s waterways in peril, Continue reading