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Santa Rosa County leaders plan to ease congestion

SANTA ROSA COUNTY  --  Finding your way off of Navarre Beach can be a time consuming and frustrating experience.
Santa Rosa County has a plan to ease the congestion, but some are asking why the road work is happening right now.

This is not a busy summer day, it's a middle of March week, day and you can already see the traffic is backing up here at the intersection of County Road 399 and the Navarre Beach bridge and Highway 98.
This can be a difficult intersection, especially in the summertime. And the county has a plan to alleviate some of this traffic problem.
But there are some questions about the timing.
The project will add a second left-hand turn lane, and another signal, at a cost of about $162,000.
The work starts next week. Just as the spring break season starts to heat up.

"Sooner the better. I think it would be great if they started it. The timing is probably not good, but if they have funiding and they can do it...A little inconvenience might not be so bad," says Brenda Stokes, who lives near the bridge. "It's definitely needed. Definitely needed. It's been long overdue."

The work will take 60 days to finish, and will be done during the day.
Commissioner Jim Melvin tells us that contracting for night work comes at a premium price, and keeping cost down is essential.
As to why the project is starting now?
Getting all the details ironed out with the Florida Department of Transporation takes some time.

"When we got it approved with the state. So we're squeezing it in before the big season, and hopefully we're going to get it done before it impacts spring break. Spring break is a moving target. Spring break occurs in a rolling order throughout the various universities. It's not going to step on the entire spring break, and it might impact some of it but hopefully not much," says Melvin.

Crews are already starting to put some signage out for this project this week. Construction starts next week.