City OKs letter to TPO to look into SR399 replacement

Posted on April 11, 2016 by Mat Pellegrino

At Monday’s City Council meeting, City of Gulf Breeze council members approved sending a request to the Florida-Alabama Transportation Planning Organization to look into the starting phase of replacing the SR399 overpass.
The request is asking the FL-AL TPO to consider sending a formal request to the Florida Department of Transportation to have a PD&E Study done on the SR399 overpass, which was recently damaged when the top of a truck hit one of the beams underneath the structure back on March 11.
Even though FDOT engineers deemed the structure sound following the collision, the city is looking to replace the overpass in an effort to handle future growth of the city and the tourists that travel to the area.
But even with approval of sending the request off to the TPO, the city will have to wait until at least June to even have a discussion about it at a FL-AL TPO meeting.
“We looked at the time table for putting items on the (TPO)agenda, and frustrating as it may be, we (found) this will not be on the April agenda. It will be on the June meeting agenda,” said City Manager Edwin “Buz” Eddy on Monday.
FDOT spokesman Ian Satter told South Santa Rosa News last week that the request could have little effect on pushing FDOT to fund a replacement since the overpass is only a little over 50 years old and has an expected life span of up to 100 years.
The first step in requesting a construction project through FDOT is going through the local TPO who can decide whether or not to send the request off to FDOT.
Even then, the request can be shot down by the state agency.
Construction is set to start on the SR399 overpass repairs sometime next week. During the construction process, lane closures will take place westbound while the company repairs the damaged beam.