Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Ananth Prasad, FDOT District Three Secretary Tommy Barfield, Florida Senate President Don Gaetz and Walton County Commission Chair Bill Chapman broke ground Dec. 30 on a new U.S. 331 bridge across Choctawhatchee Bay in Walton County.

Work will begin in January 2014 to construct a new $118.5 million bridge east of the current Clyde B. Wells Bridge and feature two northbound travel lanes with accompanying shoulders. The new bridge is scheduled to be ready for traffi­c in summer 2015, with fi­nal completion of the project set for a year later. Upon completion of the new bridge, the current structure will be used exclusively for two lanes of southbound traffic. In addition to the new bridge, a dedicated park and recreation area will be built beneath the southern approach.

FDOT also broke ground on the expansion of U.S. 331 from north of State Road (S.R.) 20 to I-10. The $47 million project includes widening the roadway to four lanes, safety upgrades, drainage improvements and new signage and pavement markings. Construction will begin fall 2014 with completion scheduled for summer 2016.

Construction on the 4.6-mile section of U.S. 331 in Walton County to multi-lane the roadway from the north end of the Clyde B. Wells Bridge to south of S.R. 20 began in September 2012 and is scheduled for completion in summer 2015. 

All three projects are part of a continuing effort by FDOT to improve safety along a hurricane evacuation route, ease congestion on the U.S. 331 corridor from U.S. 98 to I-10 and encourage economic development opportunities in Walton County.

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