Okaloosa County Looks to Update Brooks Bridge

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OKALOOSA COUNTY-- Thousands of cars go over the Brooks Bridge every day.

"There are potentially a lot of businesses who will be impacted by the various bridge alignments. What is going to be important for me as a commissioner of all of Okaloosa County, is making sure we are looking far into the future," Okaloosa County Commissioner Nathan Boyles said.

The future of Okaloosa County is everyone's main priority.

Thursday the Commission, County Administration and residents sat down and discussed this potential project and how it would effect the future of Okaloosa County.

Commissioners have come up with three options for the Brooks Bridge--either repairing the existing bridge, moving the bridge to another location, or adding a second bridge to the current one.

"The approaches are too steep, we would look to flatten the approaches to and from the bridge, and then you have a vertical clearance issue of the height of the bridge over the inter coastal waterways--and that has to be addressed," John Hofstad, the Public Works Director for the county, said.

Boyles says at this time no decisions have been made.

He also states if the project moves forward, a number of residents along Okaloosa island said backed-up traffic due to construction would be their concern.

The commission is looking at ever angle of this project to make sure it fits both the residents and counties needs.

"As I am making my decisions it is going to be based upon what is going to be best for our community, not necessarily right now, but 30, 40, 50 years down the road," Boyles said.

The Florida Department of Transportation has been funded by the State to do two independent studies; one of the existing location, and one of an alternate location.

Boyles says those studies will take a few years and in the meantime they will continue holding public comment meetings.