Unique walkway causing Inlet Beach traffic shifts

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WALTON COUNTY Fla. (WMBB) — Drivers in Inlet Beach can’t miss a unique walkway currently under construction in South Walton.

Officials said they are working on many traffic shifts to complete the $5.6 million project on time. Receiving help from engineers throughout every phase.

“Protect our most vulnerable users,” said Florida Department of Transportation Spokesperson Ian Satter.

Construction plans for the underpass show it will be going under U.S. 98 leading pedestrians and bicyclists to 30A.

“The project originally came about from the local delegation in Tallahassee to bring this safety project to U.S. 98,” said Satter. “We don’t have a lot of tunnels here in northwest Florida for pedestrians.”

Once complete, this will be the second underpass of its kind, the first being in Tallahassee. Until then, engineers are constantly testing materials, methods, and plans.

“Ensure that the design will make sure that we don’t have water flowing through that tunnel so that there will be drainage in place there to keep water out of there even when we have heavy rains we will be able to have people still be able to use those facilities,” said Satter.

Travelers might have noticed a recent traffic shift. This has allowed construction teams to work on the north side of the tunnel first, before reshifting to work on the south end.

“We are constructing some of these mock walls to look at their durability, their strength, and their appearance,” he said.

Satter said completion of the underpass should be in the summer of 2022. And local businesses like Amici and Amigos Head-Chef Lock said it will be beneficial to get customers into their restaurants safely.

Not only do FDOT officials aim for safety after completion, but also while they are under construction. Pedestrians should pay extra attention to sidewalk closures in the Inlet Beach area.

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