U.S. 98 Betterment Project

Work is scheduled to begin next week to shore up sections of U.S. 98 between Destin and Fort Walton Beach which have washed out at least three times in recent years during hurricanes.

Archer Western Contractors, LTD., the prime contractor for the recently awarded $14.3 million restorations project on Okaloosa Island, will begin active construction work next Tuesday, January 17.

The contract calls for excavating the shoulders, installation of nine and 12-inch-thick gabion baskets (flexible stainless steel containers filled with stone to control erosion) installation of composite sheet pile between Highway 98 and Choctawhatchee Bay, and installation of graded shoulders.

There are no lane closures set for Tuesday, January 17; however, the contractor is allowed to close one lane of traffic in each direction during construction. No lane closures are allowed between the hours of 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Motorists can expect lane closures in both directions on Wednesday, January 18 after peek hours for the offloading of gabion mats.

Archer Western has 200 days to complete the project. The DOT is offering a $1 million no excuse bonus for completing the project prior to June 1, 2006, the beginning of hurricane season.