Should a road be built through the forest in South Walton?

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SANTA ROSA BEACH, Fla. (WMBB)- Residents and officials are talking about constructing a road through the forest. A public forum was held at the new Dune Lakes Elementary School and it was highly contested.

Should a road be built going through the forest? That’s what the Walton County officials are trying to decide. Some say it’s needed to alleviate traffic. While others say a road through Point Washington State Forest would destroy the natural environment.

“We’ve lived here for a long time and we would hate to see the environment ruined by another road,” explained Merileigh Camaret, a high school student.

“Filling in all of those lands will be very detrimental to the environment,” said Maxwell Post, Colligate High School.

While most people attending, were not showing support. There were a few that said they see the benefits in constructing a through the forest.

“The roads are at capacity, especially during the season. So, anything that we can do to help mitigate some of that and make it a little easier on our men and women and try to provide the prompt, dominant and caring response if you will, we want to support that,” reasoned Ryan Crawford, South Walton Fire Chief.

Four options are being laid out for consideration. Each has advantages and disadvantages to connecting Highway 98 and 30a but, some questioned the need to create additional roadways.

“There are other solutions with fixes the roads that we already have instead of creating new ones,” said Noel Albiero, a high school senior.

Atkins Engineering Firm was on hand, answering questions and walking residents through the process, plans, and designs.

“You don’t come here with a solution and say we are going to do this and that’s that. The reason you do the study is just that. The county is responsible for finding solutions to the area and issues that challenge their community and this is a possible solution,” explained Greg Garrett, project manager.

No decisions were made at the meeting. The meeting was strictly for informational purposes.

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