I was so excited to see standing room only at the Kick off meeting to introduce the proposed new road to our longed for Airport. Hugh Williams exclaimed that a bigger room would be needed for the next meeting because of the over the top public responce which they welcomed. The meeting appeared to be a great success and although there was not a question and answer time the audience was encouraged to meet one on one with the project leaders stationed around the room.
So how does it impact us? The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is proposing a new 4 lane roadway, approximately 24 miles in length. Exactly where the road will be is still in the planning stages but the suggested route for section 1 is from US 98 in Walton County east of Peach Creek to state road 79 in Bay County around county road 388. For section 2 the plans are for it to run along 388 from HWY 79 to HWY 77. Some of the considerations for the road will include controlled and limited access alternatives.
H.W. Lochner, Inc. and PBS & J have teamed together to conduct studies for the West Bay Parkway and its impact on the community and its citizens. Rosemary Woods -Deputy project manager urged the audience to e-mail or call them at their numbers provided below. She stated that a vital part of their study would be getting information from the public.
In essence the goal is to have as little an impact on the enviornment and its citizens with the most advantages for our future development. Some of the positives are: A new route to our new Airport, to provide a better quality direct route to the eastern side of Bay County, and to establish an alternative hurricane evacuation Route. One of the problems with Bay County has always been how do you get here. The new Airport is the first step in solving that problem and a new road to the Airport is another facet of making Bay County an easy access vacation spot.
This was the first of many meetings. I had an opportunity to meet some of the Project Leaders and they were eager to hear our ideas and welcomed feedback and questions. I hope you will join me and learn about this project and be a part of the great change for our community that we love.
The official web site is WestBayParkway.com
Deputy Project Manager
J. Brandon Bruner
Project Development Engineer