Highway 79 Corridor Project now fully funded

HOLMES COUNTY, WASHINGTON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The now fully-funded Highway 79 Corridor Project aims to bring development into the Highway 79 area from I-10 to Douglas Ferry Road.

Leaders from the city of Bonifay, Holmes, and Washington counties have worked together to get the necessary funding.

"We've got a million dollars now to start the project and the other money's on the way from the governor," Washington County Board of Commissioners Chairman Tray Hawkins said.

Collectively, all three entities will receive $1.8 million to go toward water and sewer placement.

The project is funded entirely by the state. No local tax dollars have been used to pay for the project.

Hawkins said leaders hope beach traffic will bring more money to Holmes and Washington counties.

"Studies show that the 79 and 77 corridors will surpass the 331 and 231 corridors for traffic, going back and forth to Bay County and Panama City Beach," Hawkins said.

Hotels, gas stations, and strip malls are just some of the businesses leaders hope the project will bring to the area.

"You have the baby, you step back and let the baby grow," Hawkins said. "The government entities are putting the water and sewer in place and the sky's the limit for what can be achieved on the 79 Corridor."

The goal is to have some new businesses in the area by 2019.

Officials said they aren't sure of the exact date they'll start putting shovels in the ground, but they hope to start installing sewer and water lines very soon.