Quite the crowd gathered for the recent meeting to discuss options for replacing or enlarging the Brooks Bridge in downtown Fort Walton Beach. The bridge was constructed in 1964 with an expected 50-year design life. It no longer meets current design standards with deficiencies in the Disabilities Act requirements and navigational clearance for this portion of the Intracoastal Waterway.
The objective is to achieve this larger bridge with the least intrusion into downtown Fort Walton Beach, or the destruction of the Publix shopping center and the Emerald Coast Convention Center. The Florida Department of Transportation presented a plan for a new bridge with the following attributes:
- Three-lane bridge (currently 2 lanes)
- Wide bike lanes and pedestrian crossings
- Approximately 145 feet across with 10 foot space between east and westbound lanes
- Vertical clearance of 65 feet (currently 50 feet)
Design & Placement
As reported in the Nwfdailynews.com, there were several options with regard to the actual placement and integration. According to state Rep. Jerry Melvin, the plan that takes up less public property would carry U.S. Highway 98 Perry Avenue on the west and its northernmost lane would become a turning lane at that point under the plan. On the east side the bridge would cross over Santa Rosa Boulevard.
There would also be revisions to the intersections to accommodate the new bridge. Per the Brooks Bridge Replacement Study:
"On the Fort Walton Beach side, improvements are being considered at Perry Avenue to help traffic flow on and off the bridge and to improve conditions at the intersection while working with access to local businesses such as the grocery store and the future development planned at that location.
On the Okaloosa Island side, improvements are being considered in the vicinity of Santa Rosa Boulevard. Because of the increased height of the bridge, the replacement bridge and roadway cannot touch down where the intersection is today. A substantial reconfiguration will be needed. Various options are being considered to improve traffic flow on and off the bridge, and to provide for local connections including bicycle and pedestrian movements."
The timeline for the bridge development is outlined here. For more information view the Brooks Bridge Replacement Study.
Tim Shepard, Broker/Owner
Destin Real Estate, LLC
Cell: (850) 259-4133
Toll Free: (866) 678-SOLD
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