Okaloosa Island Leaseholders Association OILA
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Alternate Crossing Study Report

The Santa Rosa Sound Alternate Crossing Study was a high-level planning study that focuses on the feasibility for an alternate road and bridge corridor between Fort Walton Beach and Okaloosa Island. The primary purpose for an alternate corridor is to help reduce congestion along SR 30 / US 98 through downtown Fort Walton Beach (within the vicinity of SR 85 to Perry Avenue) by diverting traffic around this congested segment. Traffic volumes in this area range from 35,500 to 51,000 vehicles per day (2016 FDOT Online Traffic), indicating this segment of US 98 is at capacity. Brooks Bridge is not the traffic constraint.
Improvements are also needed to improve connectivity in the greater Fort Walton Beach region.

The final report of the study was issued in September 2017.  It can be downloaded and reviewed by using the link below.  (Caution:  The report is 411 pages long and the file is 58.9 megabytes in size.)

Santa Rosa Sound Alternate Crossing Study Final Report
SRACS_ACER Final with Appendices 09 20 2[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [58.9 MB]

In the study some ten (10) corridor crossing alternatives were identified as shown in the picture below.  Alternative 1 was the Wright Parkway crossing to Okaloosa Island and then down Santa Rosa Blvd.

The following table shows the various evaluation criteria and overall rankings.  Alternative 1 was ranked 7 with a recommendation to NOT proceed with further analysis.

Alternative 1, the Wright Parkway to Santa Rosa Blvd alternative, was found to be not feasible.  The following is directly from the report on pages 91 and 92.

 

Public Feedback

 

Through the comments received at the Kickoff and Alternatives Public Meetings, online, or via email to the FDOT Project Manager, this alternative consistently received the most public objection most notably from the Condo Alliance of Okaloosa Island. Of seventy-eight (78) written comments received, thirty-five (35) comments were received in opposition to Alternative 1 (Wright Parkway), and forty-eight (48) were from the Condo Alliance of Okaloosa Island. This was the single greatest and most consistent input. Developers tended to support Alternative 1, but the residents on Okaloosa Island far outweighed the limited support. The Condo Alliance of Okaloosa Island held their own meetings which were attended by the FDOT District 3 Secretary (April 8, 2015), and by the FDOT Project Manager (March 2, 2016), and Hands Across the Bridge rallies opposing Alternative 1 (December 6, 2014; January 31, 2015; March 27, 2015). Resolutions
opposing Alternative 1, were passed unanimously by the boards of 26 Okaloosa Island condos, and by the membership of the Condo Alliance of Okaloosa Island, the Okaloosa Island Fire Department Board, and Okaloosa Island Leaseholders Association.

 

Agency Feedback

 

As described in Section 6.2.3, Eglin AFB completed a Mission Impact Assessment and transmitted the findings to FDOT on March 27, 2016 that expressed concern with Alternative 1. The letter stated that “After careful consideration of the assessment’s findings as well as keeping in mind the viability of Eglin’s Test and
Training Range capabilities into the future, we do not support the inclusion of these routes on the list of alternatives moving forward for consideration. As is the case with all the routes identified that would require Air Force property, caution is urged in making any assumption that those lands could be made available
should the project move beyond merely a concept.” EPA and NMFS raised concerns during their ETDM review regarding the potential for Alternative 1 to impact the coastal environment.

 

Conclusion

 

After considering the results of the corridor analysis, along with public and agency feedback, Alternative 1 was determined to be not feasible.

 

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