SANTA ROSA BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) – Walton County will be getting more backroads.
County projects in South Walton are expected to help relieve traffic congestion on the north side of Highway 98.
“Our biggest goal is to allow people to move around without the use of 98, keep congestion off, and 98 free up some capacity on 98,” said Chance Powell, deputy county engineer.
The county is working on a Middle Bay Rd. connecting East Hewitt Rd. to Goldsby Rd. in Santa Rosa Beach.
Currently in the design phase thanks to a county incentive grant, the county is expecting the road to cost $6 million to complete.
“So that’ll be parallel highway 98, traveling from Goldsby all the way to East Hewitt and eventually further than that, we’re trying to go even further east than that. That will be a huge game changer, I believe,” said Donna Johns, District 4 commissioner.
Another project in the discussion phase is a road connecting Mack Bayou Rd. in Miramar Beach to Sandestin Ln.
Powell said they have permission from the Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital to use their property for the road, but are now working with FPL to gain the rest of the needed land.
“It’s going to require some possible relocation portion of some underground utilities that they have there. And we haven’t quite worked out the details of that at this time,” said Powell.
There are still hurdles to be crossed before either project can begin. Powell said in the meantime the public needs to have patience.
“Just understand that we are working towards solutions. But you can’t make an omelet without cracking an egg,” said Powell.
Both roadways are expected to be two-lane roads with a multi-use path.
The engineering department said they are hoping to begin construction on Middle Bay Rd. in late 2024.
Walton County released a video with more from Commissioner Johns.