Fairfield Drive

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Fairfield Drive
some segments previously known as Pottery Plant Road and Maura Road
south end: Bayou Grande
US 98
Lillian Highway
Mobile Highway
Pace Boulevard
Texar Drive
Palafox Street
Interstate 110
Davis Highway
9th Avenue
north end: 12th Avenue

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Fairfield Drive is a major thoroughfare in Middle and West Pensacola. Although Fairfield is oriented east-west for most of its length, it carries a north-south designation as a Florida State Road (727 & 295).

Fairfield Drive's southern terminus is in a residential block south of Gulf Beach Highway at the shore of Bayou Grande. Going northward, at Gulf Beach Highway Fairfield begins carriage of Florida State Road 727. North of Lillian Highway, Fairfield takes a decidedly easterly turn, and continues to a complex interchange with New Warrington Road just east of Mobile Highway. Also east of Mobile Highway the road is four-laned.

It is at that point which Florida State Road 727 terminates and east of the interchange Fairfield carries Florida State Road 295. South of the interchange, SR 295 is carried by New Warrington Road. Fairfield continues east until it terminates at 12th Avenue in East Pensacola. The Florida State Road 295 designation terminates a few blocks prior at Ninth Avenue.

Name and history[edit]

Fairfield Drive acquired its name from the fairgrounds used by the Pensacola Interstate Fair, which were located on the thoroughfare between Pace Boulevard and Palafox Street near Town & Country Plaza.

Originally, Fairfield dead-ended at Palafox Street. A short distance north of that intersection, Pottery Plant Road, which ran from Davis Highway to Palafox, also dead-ended at Palafox. Both of these roads were two-lane highways, and in the 1960s this area was known for heavy traffic congestion, often exacerbated by delays caused by trains moving in and out of L&N's Goulding Yard, which Pottery Plant Road crossed at grade just east of Palafox.

In the early 1970s, a viaduct was built over the rail lines, an extension was built to connect Pottery Plant and Fairfield, and the highway was four-laned between Pace Boulevard and Davis Highway. At this time, the Pottery Plant Road name was dropped.

At Davis Highway, Pottery Plant Road connected with Maura Road, which was eventually four-laned as well, and became a continuation of the extended Fairfield Drive.

Also in the early 1970s, a connection between Fairfield and New Warrington Road was made by a viaduct over Mobile Highway (where NWR formerly dead-ended at the Circle). Fairfield was four-laned from Pace Boulevard to Mobile Highway, and NWR was four-laned from Fairfield to its junction with Navy Boulevard.

At the same time, a dog-leg curve and another grade crossing over the Frisco Railroad near the intersection of Border Street were eliminated by a realignment of Fairfield and the construction of a railroad bridge over the new roadway.

These road expansion projects provided a seamless flow of traffic between the southern and western parts of the metro area, including the Navy Yard, and the airport, junior college, and residential and commercial areas of the northeast side, as well as to and from I-110, greatly relieving traffic congestion in that heavily-travelled corridor.

Major intersections[edit]