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Solutions to traffic tie-ups on Highway 98

DESTIN   --  Gridlock on Highway 98.
It's a fact of life every summer around area beaches.
Now a group looking for ways to ease congested traffic wants to move forward with a project in Destin.

It would improve a widely-used shortcut between Benning Drive and Main Street making it easier to stay off of 98.

Laura Hussey "There are two guaranteed conversation starters here in Northwest Florida, the weather, and Highway 98 traffic. Perhaps nowhere is that traffic as bad as it can be here in Destin."
In the summer, Craig Willey's half-hour commute can take two hours.
Craig Swilley/Destin "I have an office out toward Sandestin. In the summers I don't go to it."

Locals have long used a network of back roads to stay off of 98, but the shortcut isn't direct.

Craig "It's not easy. You got to go through subdivisions and you can come down Azalea but then you gotta go left or right to Mountain or Legion, so it's pretty difficult."
And, it puts a burden on residential neighborhoods.
Michael Schoenher "People come down this road quite a bit and it's a nice quiet neighborhood, but in the summertime it gets a little hectic. You even get traffic backed up all the way down this road."
That could be changing.
The group tasked with finding Highway 98 solutions, the Northwest Florida Transportation Corridor Authority, has made what's called the Destin Crosstown Corridor a priority.

Craig Swilley "It would come back behind our house right here, and it'd be a straight shot all the way to airport. So it'd be real nice, it'd keep people off Legion back here in the subdivision and it would take some traffic off 98."
Instead of these woods at the end of Azalea, there would be a through road to the end of Legion Drive.
There would also be some widening of roads in the mile and a half to Main Street.
The price tag is 6.6 million dollars, but a funding source hasn't been found yet.
Laura Hussey "The Destin Crosstown Corridor has been talked about and planned for a long time. Now that the Corridor Authority has made it a priority, it's a concrete step toward reality."