Search for Money to Open "Old" Pass Continues

By: Brian Greig Email
By: Brian Greig Email

While Walton County is getting $10 million to restore Norriego Point, some Bay County residents are asking what about East Pass, also known as Old Pass.

Since 2008, Bay County Commissioner Bill Dozier has been trying to get state and federal funding to re-open East Pass, so far he's hit a brick wall.

When the army corps of engineers built the pass at St. Andrews State Park in 1935, the East Pass naturally closed. In 2001, the county paid a little more than $2 million to reopen the channel on an experimental basis. It closed up less than a year later.

Supporters say reopening the pass will improve the health of the bays and water navigation. Dozier says that funding for studies is what's keeping the project at a stalemate but would love to get the project started as soon as possible.

He added, "I wanted to get going several years ago, but, you know, our hands are tied when it comes to the finances of the studies and actually moving the project forward. Having the old pass opened up again, i believe, would be an asset to the whole bay system. St. Andrews Bay, North Bay, the whole bay system. It all depends on what the state tells us. We have to prove to the state that it's a worthwhile project."

Dozier also thinks that if the dredging eventually takes place, it should be at a 45 degree angle to allow it to stay open longer because the tides naturally flow from that direction.

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