Gulf Coast Parkway Plans

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PORT ST. JOE -- Plans for a new highway connecting Highway 231 to Highway 98 in Gulf County will not only improve travel, but create opportunities for new development.

The Florida Department of Transportation showed some of the proposed routes for Gulf Coast Parkway Tuesday night during an informal public meeting.

Locals are optimistic about the possibilities.

Approximately 150 people showed up in Port St. Joe Tuesday evening to see the plans for the proposed Gulf Coast Parkway.

The Department of Transportation has been working on the project since 2009.

The initial surveys evolved into five alternatives; The most desirable is Alternative Seventeen.

Donna Green from the Florida Department of Transportation said, "The selection of alternative seventeen was, as we said before, was based on public input as well as input from all of our elected officials in Gulf and Bay counties."

But some residents are against the project.

Jim Bush is a Mexico Beach resident and voiced his opposition, "I have to agree that if they do build the parkway, we'll have economic growth. I like it just the way it is. There's a lot of residents that feel the same way i do. I think the social impact far outweighs the benefits that are gonna come with the project."

Others are pushing for the Tyndall by-pass called the Bay to Gulf Highway.

Beth Garraway also lives in Mexico Beach and said, "I frankly think that the Gulf to Bay road needs to be finished first."

The next public meeting on the Gulf Coast Parkway will be Thursday at the Springfield Community Center.