SEBRING — When Sebring Parkway Phase 3 opens late this year, motorists may notice some changes to road names, particularly along Manatee Drive.

The Parkway will split Manatee Drive into two parts. Highlands County commissioners have approved a move to rename Manatee Drive east of the Parkway into two portions with two separate names.

It’s required by the county’s E-911 system. Any time a road is no longer contiguous, split in half by road construction or a road realignment, it must have a new name to prevent law enforcement, fire and emergency medical personnel from becoming lost.

Manatee Drive from State Road 17 to the Parkway is scheduled to be renamed Beacon Avenue.

From there, the part of Manatee that parallels the Parkway is scheduled to be renamed Sandlace Drive as a frontage road to the Parkway.

It will end where it would have crossed the Parkway, just west of Sunshine Blueberry Farms, currently at 1528 Manatee Drive.

Notices have been sent to the owners of 10 parcels along the proposed frontage road. They would be able to get to their property from SR 17 via Beacon or by turning right off the Parkway itself.

There are 12 parcels on the “Beacon Avenue” portion of Manatee, all citrus groves or open fields. Landowners there would be able to reach their property in the same way as others: from SR 17 by Beacon or from the Parkway onto Beacon.

Highlands County Engineer Clinton Howerton Jr. has said the only cost to the county would be for new road signs at the intersections on those roads.

County commissioners approved the road changes during a meeting in April. All that’s left now is for the county to install the new signs, once Parkway Phase 3 is complete.

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