Gulf Coast Parkway Hijacked?

GULF COUNTY-- Gulf County commissioners are asking residents to help them lobby the Department of Transportation over the Gulf Coast Parkway plans.

The original proposal, drawn-up in 2001, included alternative 15, which called for a connector road from Gulf County to Highway 231, just south of Youngstown.

Thirteen years later the preferred route is alternative 17.

It significantly moves the connector road west, along County Road 386 to just south of Star Avenue in Bay County.

County administrator Don Butler says Gulf County needs alternative 15 to provide better hurricane evacuation and to help attract future economic growth to replace the paper mill that shut down more than decade ago.

"If you look at a map of the state of Florida, we're probably as far from the interstate as anywhere else from the state. We need that direct northerly route to 231 and I-10. Very important to get tourists in," Butler said.

County officials began calling DOT officials last week but have not receive a response.