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Putnam County leaders give update to fix Palatka road causing pothole problems

PALATKA, Fla — You could say St. Johns Avenue is giving neighbors, like Alyssa Clarke, road rage. But, if anything, the potholes and patches scattered throughout the road are making her driving less dangerous.

But she can’t say the same about the street.

“The road is patched up in so many different areas that I need new suspension, new shocks, new everything on my car because it’s so bad,” Clarke says.

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Living on St. Johns Avenue, a road FDOT says up to 8,500 cars drive on each day that leads to downtown Palatka, Clarke says she’s forced to drive down the road each day, even while it’s causing damage to her car.

Clarke says it has only become worse the four years she’s lived there.

“It’s always crap, and it’s been like this for two and a half years now,” says Clarke.

It’s also a bother for Brendan Bernhard, who lives in Palatka and uses the road going to and from work.

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“The road has become physically dangerous to traverse,” Bernhard says.

Bernhard told Action News Jax driving on the road has racked up thousands of dollars in damage to his truck.

“There’s really no excuse for it to be this way,” says Bernhard.

Palatka and Putnam County leaders weren’t able to speak with Action News Jax, but updated the community on a project to fix St. Johns Avenue Thursday night.

The city says it’s already planned to repave St. Johns Avenue east of the railroad tracks and all the way to 4th Street. The city tells Action News Jax it’s waiting on an FDOT grant to start the project. The county’s planning to resurface the road west of the railroad tracks to Palm Avenue, which is supposed to start next month.

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Clarke says it’s an urgent problem, but one she feels helpless to take on.

“When the road is so eaten up, there’s literally nothing we can do,” Clarke says.

Action News Jax has also reached out to the city of Palatka asking if people can file damage claims from driving on St. Johns Avenue, but we’re still waiting to hear back.

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