Bay County to See Traffic Improvements

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State transportation officials are trying to improve traffic for panhandle drivers.

They've approved an extra $300 million for various road projects.

More than $100 million of that money is coming to improve several of Bay County's major trouble spots.

For Bay County officials, Tuesday morning's Florida Department of Transportation internet conference on the Five Year plan must have felt like Christmas morning.

Bay County Traffic Manager Keith Bryant explains, "We're very excited today to see that SR 390 was completely funded. To see such a large project like state road 390 is unusual. That's a very expensive project."

FDOT plans to fund the widening of SR390 from two lanes to six lanes.

The first phase of the three phase $57 million project would begin in 2017.

Bryant says, "It's just too much traffic, not enough asphalt."

Florida Department of Transportation Spokesman Ian Satter says, "From big to small, they're all important to us. But 390 will be important to the people who live here."

The flyover construction on 23rd Street and US 98 is still in the Five Year plan.

And the plan now includes money to buy the right of way to 4-lane Highway 77 from the Bay County line to one mile north of Wausau.

The land acquisition will actually cost more than the widening project.

Satter explains, "That can connect with the airport, that can connect with the port that's there. It's important for economic enhancement, and it'll get people to and from work and school much more efficiently."

The legislature must approve the Five Year plan before the state and county can begin the bidding process.

For Bay County there's funding to widen Highway 390 from 23rd Street to Highway 77.

There's also money to design the multi-laning of Highway 388 from Highway 79 just past the entrance of Northwest Florida Beaches International.

In Holmes County there's money for bridge replacements on Hicks Road over West Pittman Creek and Valee Road over Blue Creek.

The state is also funding project development and environmental studies for widening Highway 79 from I-10 to the Alabama line.

In Jackson County, the state plans to resurface CR 276 from the Washington County line to Highway 231, and Pebble Hill Road from Pooser Road to north of Woodberry Drive.

Okaloosa County project include prep work to replace Brooks Bridge, lighting for the I-10 interchange at Holt Road, and prep for the widening of PJ Adams Parkway widening.

Walton County will see resurfacing of CR 181c from Highway 81 to the Holmes County Line.

Resurfacing of CR 83 from Highway 90 to the Holmes County Line.

And a new pedestrian bridge over Westarn Lake on CR 30a in South Walton.

And in Washington County there's funding for widening Highway 77 north of CR 279 to the North Sunny Hills entrance as well as funding to buy the right of way from Bay County to one mile north of the Wausau city limits.

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