West Bay Bridge

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Florida Department of Transportation crews began work Monday on a major bridge project. They're building a second span over West Bay.

The new two-lane bridge will be a companion to the current bridge.

State Road 79 is now four-laned from Back Beach Road to the south side of the West Bay bridge. This will allow the state to four-lane beyond that point, eventually widening the road to the access the proposed new airport site.

With more people moving towards the coast and more development planned for the West Bay area, the new bridge will cut down on traffic jams when motorists have to leave Bay County in the event of an emergency.

Tommie Speights with the Florida Department of Transportation says, "Of course, with 79, is an evacuation route. This is future plans for improving the evacuation route out of Bay County up to I-10, so it needs as an evacuation route to be improved for safety of State Road 79."

The project should not create any delays on State Road 79 because the current bridge will remain open. The new bridge should be finished in about a year and a half.