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Brooks bridge opened this morning
The Brooks Bridge in Fort Walton Beach re-opened this morning.
But for several hours, only two lanes were safe to use.
That caused a huge traffic jam.
Laura Hussey "When the Brooks Bridge finally reopened to all four lanes of traffic just after 11, we actually heard cheers from passing cars. But the bad news, they were still backed up for miles, not just here down Highway 98, but in every direction"
At first, it was good news.
The Brooks Bridge was partially open.
Eastbound and westbound traffic alternated crossing, in the two lanes that were available.
But before nine a-m, cars started to stack up.
Erica Wright/Landmark Center "Oh we sat in traffic for twenty to twenty-five minutes just to cross the street"
It only got worse.
Cars backed up on eastbound 98, and on both sides of Perry Avenue.
They backed up all the way across Okaloosa Island to the Destin Bridge.
Frustrated drivers couldn't find a shortcut.
Commuter "I tried to go around and avoid 98, but it didn't help"
Despite being cautioned to stay off the roads for a few more hours, it seems everyone had their reasons for getting out.
Commuter "I work at the Gulfarium, we're open today in half an hour, so I had to get salt, we had some frozen spots on the ground"
Erica "I think they're just venturing out to see what's really going on, just to see if there really is traffic and to see if everything really is still closed"
Dan/Snowbird "Ummm...my wife wanted to go to the store (smiles)"
Getting things moving was a relief for drivers, but it probably didn't compare to the pleasure of police officers, close to getting out of the cold.
We don't know for sure, because they didn't complain.
Laura Hussey "Last night I heard so many stories of people staying in hotels because so many bridges were closed. Looking at traffic moving like this means people will be sleeping in their own beds. That's a good thing."