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The Villages
Sunday, December 10, 2023

Crash on Rolling Acres Road a sad reminder of how dangerous thoroughfare has become

Thursday’s serious crash on Rolling Acres Road should serve as a reminder to area residents and a wake-up call to Lake County commissioners about the very real dangers of traveling on that nasty thoroughfare.

A Florida Highway Patrol investigator was at the scene of the Thursday crash on Rolling Acres Road.

The accident – one of many in recent years on that road – occurred at about 1:30 p.m., about a half mile south of the intersection of Rolling Acres Road and County Road 466. An older man’s car overturned after he lost control, swerved into the opposite lane, struck a trailer being towed by a truck and then hit an SUV. The man was airlifted as a trauma alert to Ocala Regional Medical Center.

A similar nightmare occurred in early December when a three-vehicle crash snarled traffic at the intersection of Rolling Acres Road and Lake Ella Road. The early evening crash left debris from the vehicles scattered across the roadway and forced cut-through traffic heading to County Road 466A to find alternative routes.

Traffic was backed up after a December crash at Rolling Acres Road and Lake Ella Road.

Unfortunately, crashes like those mentioned above seem to be the norm on Rolling Acres Road, with many occurring at the intersection of CR 466. Some of those include:

Wow! Now that we all can agree there are a plethora of problems with Rolling Acres Road, we’ll address the big ones.

Traffic frequently backs up at the corner of Rolling Acres Road and County Road 466.

Let’s start with the fact that it’s been designated as failing road (more on that later). Let’s also take a minute and recall our own stories of sitting in the long, long traffic lines that frequently exist between U.S. Hwy. 27/441 and CR 466. And let’s not overlook the fact that once motorists cross over CR 466 and head toward Lake Ella Road, the hilly portion of Rolling Acres Road seems to become a racetrack, with motorists appearing to believe they’re competing for a spot in the Daytona 500.

As we all know, speed and a hilly, busy roadway don’t make good partners. And that’s certainly the case with that stretch of Rolling Acres Road that is used as a cut-through by many drivers attempting to reach CR 466A via Micro Racetrack Road.

Large trucks like this one are constantly hauling supplies, lumber and roof trusses to the southern end of The Villages. And they clearly are having an effect on the deteriorating pavement along the shoulder of Rolling Acres Road.

And don’t even get us started on the deteriorating pavement on the shoulders of the roadway. Very large and heavy trucks – many coming from the Ro-Mac facility on Rolling Acres Road – are constantly hauling supplies, lumber and roof trusses to the southern end of The Villages for the mega-growth that’s taking place there. They clearly are doing a number on the pavement along the roadway’s shoulders, which is yet another danger to motorists who could lose control of their vehicles if their tires run off into the grass or dirt around the broken blacktop.

As we mentioned earlier, Rolling Acres Road has been declared a failing road. It is in desperate need of improvements, but the powers-that-be on the Lake County Commission appear to have little interest in correcting this huge wrong that is endangering lives on a daily basis.

Commissioner Dan Vincent

Last year, Lady Lake commissioners were approached by representatives of 7-Eleven about putting a minimart at the corner of Rolling Acres Road and CR 466 (yes, we know it was a preposterous idea). Several commissioners made their negative feelings clear about the idea and the minimart giant backed away from the plan earlier this month. But Commissioner Dan Vincent raised interesting points during the debate and shared a disturbing conversation he had with a Lake County commissioner.

A two-car collision occurred in April at County Road 466 and Rolling Acres Road.

Vincent said continued delays in funding for Rolling Acres Road improvements were behind his decision to oppose the minimart. And he said he felt particularly burned after he cast a vote in 2016 to allow the construction of a medical clinic on the road near The Villages Elementary of Lady Lake. At the time, he said, Lake County officials had hinted that the economic benefits of the new clinic could accelerate funding for improvements on the roadway.

“Had I known what I know now, I wouldn’t have voted for it,” Vincent said.

The driver of this vehicle was ticketed after a crash at County Road 466 and Rolling Acres Road in February 2017.

Vincent also said that he had spoken with Lake County Commissioner Josh Blake, who represents the Lady Lake area, about money to improve Rolling Acres Road – and he wasn’t happy with the response.

“Basically, he told me to ‘go soak it,’” Vincent said, adding that he’s tired of Lady Lake getting the short end of the stick.

If you ask us, every single Lake County commissioner should be ashamed of themselves for the mess that exists on Rolling Acres Road. Repairing that clogged and dangerous thoroughfare should be priority number one for that governing body. And doing it sooner rather than later should be a mandate.

A woman died as the result of a motorcycle accident at Rolling Acres Road and County Road 466 in April 2016.

Of course, we’re not going to hold our breath. As Vincent also said, we know that spending money in cities like Clermont and Mount Dora carries more appeal for the county commissioners. Those are much higher-profile cities and they apparently bring more clout than Lady Lake does.

If we had our way, we’d get this problem fixed quickly. That’s because we’d make each Lake County commissioner travel Rolling Acres Road every morning and again in the afternoon. We’d have them sit in the traffic line as they watched light after light change while moving inches at a time. And we’ve love to see them react to the Speed Racer-like atmosphere that exists between CR 466 and Lake Ella Road.

Emergency personnel were on the scene of a crash at County Road 466 and Rolling Acres Road in January 2017.

If we were betting folks, we’d wager that such an experience might make Blake and company sing a different tune. Who knows, maybe he’d actually do his job on the county commission by being an advocate for Lady Lake and get the money set aside to right the terrible wrong known as Rolling Acres Road.

But as we said, don’t hold your breath.

A Village Mover vehicle was involved in a November crash at Rolling Acres Road and County Road 466.

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