Highway 77 Widening Project Underway

CHIPLEY, Fla. - Drivers in Washington County are starting to see some major road work on Highway 77. 
 
The Florida Department of Transportation is expanding the highway from two lanes to four.
 
This construction is part of a widening project that's been in the works for 10 years now.
 
Crews are currently working on Blue Lake and Clayton Road.
 
"Right now this base work is important so that we have a strong foundation for this roadway so that it can last for decades, " said FDOT Spokesman Ian Satter.
 
He says they've seen plenty of progress.
 
"We've been lucky to have some days here, plenty of days...over 60 days without any rain. We've been able to get a lot of work done out here," said Satter.
 
Satter said the project will be good for more reasons than one.
 
"We're going to reduce congestion on this roadway and by doing that we will improve safety on the roadway and act as a key evacuation route from the Bay County area," said Satter.
 
This part of the project consists of four phases, covering a 16-mile stretch.
 
A homeowner living nearby said on Monday morning crews began working right next door.
 
"As you can see the equipment in the background...we're about to be effected," said homeowner R.D. Easterling.
 
Easterling said he's lived on Highway 77 for four years.
 
"After me and my wife, Norma Jean built....it wasn't that long after we built that we had got a notice that this was going to take place," said Easterling.
 
He has mixed emotions about it.
 
"Obviously as a homeowner, this is not going to be pleasant..having property taken away...and then having to drive through this...At the end of the day, if it could possibly save lives than it's worth it," said Easterling.
 
Along with the additional lanes, the road will have a paved shoulder on each side.
 
This part of the road expansion expected to be completed by the summer of 2018.
 
The entire widening project will go from I-10 to Highway 20.
 

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