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County approves $3.7 million contract for Bridge to Bridge Multi-Use Path across Okaloosa Island

The 4.7-mile path will provide a dedicated bicycle and pedestrian route along Scenic Highway 98 from the Brooks Bridge in Fort Walton Beach to the Marler Bridge in Destin.
$2 million for US 98 Bridge-to-Bridge Multi-Use Path from West Okaloosa Island to Destin (Okaloosa Public Information Office)

The Okaloosa Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved a $3.7 million contract with C.W. Roberts Contracting Inc. on Tuesday for the construction of the Bridge to Bridge Multi-Use Path on Okaloosa Island.

  • The 4.7-mile path will provide a dedicated bicycle and pedestrian route along Scenic Highway 98 from the Brooks Bridge in Fort Walton Beach to the Marler Bridge in Destin.

In February, the board backed a $612,999 contract with Neel-Schaffer, Inc. for construction engineering and inspection services for the project. Most of the path falls under federal land controlled by Eglin Air Force Base, and the county ratified a long-negotiated easement agreement with the base in January.

  • The agreement requires the county to fund the pathway’s construction and ongoing maintenance, upgrade access points between the highway and dunes, expand parking capacity at beach access ways (not paved), and better control areas near the Marler Bridge.

“This is an item that has taken us quite a while to get to this point,” said Jason Autrey, Public Works Director. “This is to construct a 12-foot wide multi-use path. It actually includes improvements at the various parking areas along the way for residents, or anybody really, to have access down to the federal coastline.”

Commissioner Carolyn Ketchel, who championed this project from the beginning, expressed her enthusiasm for the project, stating, “This may be my proudest moment since I’ve been a commissioner. I can’t tell you what this project means to me and to our community. We’ve had so many people die on Highway 98 that have tried to bike it and walk it. What a difference this is going to make for our whole community.”

The project is expected to be completed within 330 days, with substantial completion within 270 days. The contract includes liquidated damages to ensure timely completion.

The multi-use path will be part of the Florida Trails system and is expected to improve safety and accessibility for locals and tourists alike.

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