Last bridge expanse lowered into place on 331 Bridge

DEBORAH WHEELER 267-4555 | @WaltonSunDeb

Last week, Chick Huettel stood on shore and watched as the final expanse of the new 331 Bridge was lowered into place by two cranes.

"It was exciting to watch," said Huettel.

The State Road 83 (331 Bridge) project is a design/build bridge project over the Choctawhatchee Bay which will expand on a much-needed hurricane evacuation escape route.

Work began in January 2014 to construct the new U.S. 331 Bridge across the bay.

The bridge spanning more than 3 miles and costing more than $118.5 million is being constructed next to the current 331 bridge and on completion will feature two northbound travel lanes with accompanying shoulders.

When completed, the current 331 Bridge will be used exclusively for two lanes of southbound traffic.

A dedicated park and recreation area will be built beneath the southern approach and new ramps from U.S. 331 will provide access to the park, parking, a boat launch, space for fishermen, public restrooms, and a covered picnic area.

Completion is estimated for the spring of 2017.