Hundreds Sign Petition Against Navarre Connector Road

Posted on August 31, 2023 by Romi White

A proposed 6.5-mile connector road aimed to alleviate traffic congestion on U.S. 98 is being opposed by some Holley By The Sea residents. Nearly 400 people have signed a petition against the effort.

Santa Rosa County officials have been working on the project for more than a decade, avoiding use of the term “bypass” to describe it. The project has instead been labeled as a “community access road.”

A $500,000 feasibility study on the future road was presented to the Board of County Commissioners back in 2019 by Volkert Engineering. Santa Rosa County and the Florida Department of Transportation split the cost of that study.

Now the county has accepted Request for Qualification bids for the related Project Design and Environmental (PD& E) study, sparking an online petition.

Opponents argue that East Bay Boulevard/399 is a “perfect bypass” and that the proposed west end of the connector, would cut through residential areas.

 “The bypass is intended to reduce traffic concerns on (U.S. 98) though the majority of concerns are east of HBTS basically making the bypass useless,” said Steve Walker, who started the petition.

Traffic data supports Walker’s assertion, showing roughly 5,000 more cars travel daily on the segment of U.S. 98 east of 87 S.

Some also argue that the widening of U.S. 98, from four to six lanes across the entirety of the highway in Santa Rosa County, a project underway now, will help improve traffic on the busy thoroughfare, reducing the need for an additional connector west of 87 S.

The PD&E study will consist of development and evaluation of alternative corridors to determine preferred alignments, including options for utilizing Leisure Street and Broadmoor Street in HBTS.

“The (Broadmoor) option will literally go right beside my house! I have small children and currently live on a very quiet street. It’s why we bought this house. This will increase traffic, lower property. values and endanger children,” stated Brandon Moculski.

The RFQ period ended August 4, and Commissioners are expected to award the PD&E contract in the near future.