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Plan in the works to give Highway 98 drivers some relief

Plan in the works to give Highway 98 drivers some relief

During rush hour traffic along Highway 98 in Santa Rosa County, lanes can be jam-packed with cars that are often bumper-to-bumper.

"It was stressful because you want to get home," driver Baylee Rice said. "You're like, 'I need to get home,' but no one is moving. Everything is backed up."

The county is trying to alleviate the problem.

They've partnered with the Florida Department of Transportation to see if a community access road running parallel to Highway 98 is possible.

"We're really looking at trying to connect local roads that are down there in the Navarre community," said Shawn Ward, the planning and zoning development director for Santa Rosa County.

A feasability study will focus on a 7.5-mile stretch in the county.

It ranges from Edgewood Drive on the west side of Navarre, to Whispering Pines Boulevard on the east side of the city.

The one-year study cost $500,000, half of which was covered by grants from the Florida Department of Transportation.

County planners hope they can make traveling in this area easier.

"We're trying to get some of those locals to other amenities there within their neighborhoods such as the post office, the schools, the YMCA, shopping without getting back on U.S. 98," Ward added.

One driver said she'd been stuck in traffic for two hours in the area, and hopes the changes come sooner than later.

"I think that would help especially with that area from the base to Navarre. People getting home, leaving. I think it would relieve some of the congestion," Rice said.

After the year-long study, county officials will determine whether they plan to move forward with the project.

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