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Highway 98 signal retiming completed in Destin, expected to improve traffic flow

The Florida Department of Transportation recently completed a traffic signal retiming project along a 6.63-mile stretch of Highway 98 in Destin. The optimization of 22 signals is anticipated to improve traffic flow and reduce fuel consumption during peak tourism season.
The traffic signal at Stahlman Ave and Highway 98 in Destin

The Florida Department of Transportation has completed a comprehensive traffic signal retiming project along a 6.63-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 98 in Destin.

  • The retiming is anticipated to significantly improve traffic flow and reduce fuel consumption during peak tourism season, according to a report presented at Monday’s Destin City Council meeting.

The study conducted over the past year aimed to optimize traffic signal coordination and progression along the busy corridor, while minimizing delays on side streets at intersections.

According to the report, Destin currently services an average of 374,000 vehicles per week within the retiming project area during the Peak Season.

FDOT retimed signals at the following 22 intersections on Highway 98:

  • Stahlman Avenue
  • Pedestrian signal between Stahlman Avenue and Palmetto Street
  • Pedestrian signal between Palmetto Street and Marler Street
  • Pedestrian signal between Marler Street and Melvin Street
  • Benning Drive
  • Beach Drive
  • Main Street
  • Gulf Shore Drive
  • Palm Street/Sandprint Drive (future signal)
  • Pedestrian signal for Big Kahunas Water Park
  • Pedestrian signal west of Gulf Terrace Drive
  • Airport Road
  • C.R. 2378 (Scenic Highway 98)
  • Indian Bayou Trail
  • Henderson Beach Road
  • Triumph Road
  • Matthew Boulevard
  • S.R. 293
  • Crystal Beach/Legendary Drive
  • Regatta Bay Drive
  • Tequesta Drive

FDOT also retimed the signal at S.R. 293 and Commons Drive adjacent to Highway 98.

New coordinated signal timing plans were implemented during peak season for weekday mornings, weekday middays, weekday afternoons, weekends and off-peak periods.

  • According to FDOT’s calculations, the optimized signals will save around 5,500 vehicle-hours and 20,000 gallons of fuel per week along Highway 98.

Ryan Scott, Destin’s City Engineer, said the signal optimization is now complete and should help reduce congestion during busy tourist times.

FDOT did recommend that the city re-stripe the southbound thru-lane of Gulf Shores Drive at Highway 98 to a shared left-turn/thru lane due to the new split phase signal operations.

Councilman Dewey Destin asked if the city would be able to monitor the impact of the retimed signals. Scott said data collection from this past season is finished and the new timing plans are in place. The city will continue to monitor to see if there are any additional changes that can be made, in addition to the next tourist season.

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