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Florida begins $171 million Okaloosa County bridge project

Florida Construction News staff writer

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) held a groundbreaking ceremony this week for the Brooks Bridge replacement project in Okaloosa County.The $171 million project includes constructing two new parallel bridges over the Santa Rosa Sound to increase bridge capacity and improve traffic flow for this primary east-west connector between downtown Fort Walton Beach and Okaloosa Island.

The new Brooks Bridge will feature six travel lanes (three eastbound and three westbound) versus the current four-lane structure that opened in 1966.Improvements include:

  • Replacing the current four-lane bridge with two structures that support three lanes of both east and westbound traffic, along with inside and outside shoulders.
  • The new bridge will measure 2,111 feet, 793 feet longer than the current one.
  • Vertical clearance will increase from 50 feet to 65 feet to meet U.S. Coast Guard regulations. The increased vertical clearance will be provided through the 150-foot channel.
  • Intersection improvements from Perry Avenue (west of the Fort Walton Beach shore) to Pier Road (east of the Okaloosa Island shore).
  • Drainage improvements, including new stormwater retention ponds.
  • Upgrading intersections approaching the bridge to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.
  • Constructing new 12-foot shared-use paths on each side of the bridge, to include scenic outlooks.

Preliminary construction activities are now underway with project completion is scheduled for summer 2027.

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