County bridge to Eastern Shipbuilding, Allanton reopens


2297 Bridge Construction

County Road 2297 reopened at the bridge over Laird Bayou following an emergency bridge replacement project that began in 2018, Bay County officials said Tuesday.

“We are pleased to finally announce the reopening of this roadway, and we are glad to see this $9 million surtax project coming to a close,” Bay County Public Works Director Keith Bryant said. “The contractor still has some work to finish on the project, including adding lighting, but we recognize the desire of the community to resume using the bridge as quickly as possible.”

The County Road 2297 Bridge serves the community of Allanton and Eastern Shipbuilding and was a priority project on the county’s Half-Cent Surtax list. During construction, significant safety concerns arose regarding the stability of the causeway surrounding the bridge, prompting its emergency closure until the project was completed, officials said.

Additionally, Hurricane Michael caused further delay in the project’s completion.

In an effort to offset inconvenience to travelers in the area, Bay County spent approximately $600,000 to pave 4.7 miles on alternate route Old Allenton Road, which was also a project on the county’s surtax list and had been cited by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection as a problematic area for stormwater runoff.

“We appreciate everyone’s patience, as the safety of the traveling public remains our primary concern,” Bryant said, “and we ask everyone to continue exercising caution on the roadway until the lighting, which is an additional improvement to the bridge, is replaced.”

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