FDOT sets widening meeting

Posted on September 9, 2016 by Mat Pellegrino

The Florida Department of Transportation is looking for feedback from the public during two input meetings on the widening of U.S. Highway 98 from the Garcon Point Bridge in Tiger Point to Mary Esther Boulevard in Okaloosa County.
Wednesday night, FDOT announced its plans to hold the meetings on September 20 and 22 at the Navarre Conference Center.
Both meetings will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. FDOT representatives will be on hand to get input from the public for the Project, Development and Environment (PD and E) Study, which has to take place before FDOT can move forward with plans to widen the roadway.
The 24.5 mile stretch of roadway FDOT is considering for the project houses two main thoroughfares that connect the north end of Santa Rosa County to the south end. It also houses a major military base (Hurlburt Field), along with several popular tourist destinations.
Ian Satter, the Public Information Officer for FDOT’s District 3 office said although the state agency is considering the widening proposal, the PD and E Study will only allow the agency to see if the widening project is even possible.
“Whenever we do any sort of project, we conduct a PD and E Study. That allows us to take all of that data collected along that corridor to determine whether we can do that particular project. We have to look at how many businesses and homes are in that area, look at traffic patterns…it takes about 2 or three years to complete the study.”
And until the study is completed, Satter said FDOT won’t even know if it’s possible to do the project.
“We need to determine what needs there are for that corridor and then we have to present to people ‘here is what we are studying and here is what we are looking at,’” Satter said. “As we progress through the study, we will get a better idea of the impact the project will have and if it’s even possible to widen the roadway.”
The purpose of the meetings is to introduce citizens to the proposals and allow them to give feedback to the state agency.
The two meetings will be held in an open-house format, which means there will be no formal presentation, however maps, drawings and other project information will be on hand for citizens to view.
“It’s going to be 2 or 3 years before we even determine what properties are going to be effected by the (proposed) widening project,” Satter said.
The Navarre Conference Center is located at 8700 Navarre Parkway in Navarre.
For aditional information on the meeting, contact Sherry Alaghemand, the FDOT District 3 Project Manager at 888-638-0250 ext. 1510 or Sherry.Alaghemand@dot.state.fl.us.