INLET BEACH, Fla. (WMBB)- A surprising but exciting announcement being made that will reduce the risk for pedestrians and drivers on Highway 98 in Walton County.
Talks of building an underground tunnel at the busy intersection of inlet beach could be closer to reality.
“We just got the word, today, just in this meeting that the state has agreed to fully fund it,” shared Tony Anderson, Walton County Commissioner.
Cheering erupted in the board room.
This is intersection is becoming more and more dangerous. With bicyclist and pedestrians trying to cross Highway 98 to from 30a is a risk for both the pedestrians and the drivers but soon, the pedestrians will be able to safely cross going underneath Highway 98.
Many residents, like long-time resident Rich Jaffee feared that it was only a matter of time before a child on a bike was hit or worse, killed.
“It is a tremendously dangerous intersection and we’ve worked for years to try and come up with solutions to it,” said Rich Jaffe, Historic Inlet Beach Neighborhood President.
Now, there will be less worry once the tunnel is built.
“We knew it might be coming or probably coming but it was when you get the official word I was just elated and excited and relieved,” said Leigh Moore, Scenic Walton President.
Costing a steep price of $6 million, the tunnel could have actually cost more. Moore told us, this is the stamp of approval that everyone has been waiting for.
“Funding is always the toughest part of the project. Especially of this size,” shared Moore.
Local officials were hoping that by moving this project up on their priority list, it would help secure the needed funding.
“It did and so this meant that Department of Transportation had looked at the priorities from the local elected officials at the local level and made the decision to generate or allocate funding that would finish out the funding for this project,” said Moore.
“I think it’s going to be a tremendous asset in regards to making this entire area safer,” said Rich Jaffe, Historic Inlet Beach Neighborhood President.
Officials are hopeful that shovels will be in the ground In the year 2020 and the pedestrian tunnel will be completed by 2021.