Highway 77

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Plans to four-lane Highway 77 from Bay County to the Alabama state line have been derailed. Last week the state opted to cut the size of the project. That's good news for some business owners in Chipley.

Progress is good, but not all progress is welcomed.

Trudee Wills of Indingo Sun Tanning Spa, says, "In my opinion, stopping at I-10 is wonderful. That's where they needed to be. "

Not every business in Chipley was thrilled about the idea of a bypass around the city as part of the four-laning of Highway 77 project.

"If they had put the four lane in, that would have made Chipley just dry up and go away. They bypass, the motorists aren't going to come down and see historic downtown Chipley and everything we have to offer."

The state has scratched those plans and Highway 77 will only be four-laned as far as Interstate 10.

Kenny Riley from "R&M" Electric was originally concerned about the four-lane highway coming through Chipley. Because his business is just a few feet from the highway, he's glad the expansion isn't coming.

Kenny Riley says, "If it came on through it probably would affect our business. We'd probably have to relocate and I don't think that would be good for the people of the city of Chipley."

Downtown Chipley officials were also not pleased with the state's plans to build a bypass around the city fearing it would turn Chipley into a ghost town.

Gene Wills of Chipley Antique Mall says, "If they bypass this town, it's going to reroute all the traffic, tourism, whatever, you know get them to the beach faster. We don't want that downtown. We'd rather have the traffic come through town so people can stop visit with us, do some commerce and come back and visit again."

Don't expect the four-laning project up to Interstate 10 to be completed anytime soon. The DOT still hasn't allocated the funding to purchase the right-of-way needed to complete the construction of Highway 77 up to I-10.