Close this search box.

Okaloosa County receives positive feedback on Santa Rosa Boulevard Improvement Concepts

On Tuesday, Okaloosa Board of County Commissioners Chairman Carolyn Ketchel held a town hall to continue the discussion surrounding improvement updates for Santa Rosa Boulevard on Okaloosa Island. Ketchel was […]

County Engineer Scott Bitterman showing residents the proposed design concepts

On Tuesday, Okaloosa Board of County Commissioners Chairman Carolyn Ketchel held a town hall to continue the discussion surrounding improvement updates for Santa Rosa Boulevard on Okaloosa Island. Ketchel was joined by Public Works Director Jason Autrey and County Engineer Scott Bitterman as they unveiled the improvement concept design.

Nearly 100 residents attended by zoom and in-person, allowing for the opportunity to view, ask questions and share feedback. This marks the third town hall gathering of the topic.

📸 Okaloosa County BCC Public Information

“After almost two years of reviews by year-round residents we are pleased with the overwhelming support of the proposed Okaloosa Island improvements for Santa Rosa Boulevard,” said Chairman Ketchel.

Big talking points centered on stormwater and infrastructure improvements, including a multimodal path and bicycle lanes for enhanced safety of motorists and pedestrians.

  • The county also considered input from Eglin Airforce Base in the concepts.
  • They implemented a gradual decrease of lanes at the West end of Santa Rosa Boulevard instead of the abrupt 4-lane stop at the Eglin gate.
(left) Commissioner Carolyn Ketchel, (center) Public Works Director Jason Autrey, (right) County Engineer Scott Bitterman – 📸 Okaloosa County BCC Public Information

According to Ketchel, she and Autrey have taken the feedback they’ve received over the last year-and-a-half from residents who live on Okaloosa Island into the design concepts.

  • “One thing that I’m really excited about is the 14ft multi-modal path,” said Ketchel.

Autrey says that a new vision for Santa Rosa Boulevard was needed.

  • “We’ve had a history of just doing pieces here and there, and we knew that we had a real opportunity to make some improvements out on Santa Rosa Boulevard,” he said.

At last year’s town hall, 4 concepts were shown as ideas of some improvements. These included roundabouts, 2-lanes, 4-lanes, bike paths, etc. After listening to what mattered most to residents, the county says they have come up with a design that includes aspects from each of the previous concepts. Click to view designs.

  • 5-lane segment starts near the Brooks Bridge
  • Drops to a 4-lane segment
  • Then becomes a 3-lane segment with 2 lanes coming in, 1 going out. This will include a bike lane down the width of the road.
  • And finally, becomes a 2-lane segment.

One of the biggest improvements will be the ability to access the new Brooks Bridge without a traffic signal from Santa Rosa Boulevard.

  • Since the new bridge will actually go over Santa Rosa Boulevard, traffic will be free-flowing on-and-off the bridge, in both east and westbound directions.

“I think, and believe, that when the citizens see it all said and done, and I’m talking about the Brooks Bridge, Santa Rosa Boulevard improvements, Veterans Park, and the bridge-to-bridge path all being done, that residents will look back and say it’s worth it,” continued Autrey.

📸 Okaloosa County BCC Public Information
📸 Okaloosa County BCC Public Information

According to the county, the Board of County Commissioners will consider the concepts for approval at a later date.

You can watch the entire town hall meeting at or a quick clip of Coffee with Carolyn at

Join the conversation...

Continue reading 👇

Community Comments

“Congrats! Don’t be too hard on the kids, they are a little sensitive. You may lose your job.”
“Great news. Thank you NPD. Walgreens also collects unwanted drugs but sometimes not available.”
“The deputy did not have the right to use his firearm to escalate to the deadly force threshold. On any domestic disturbance, we were trained as law enforcement officers to...”
“Eglin has aleady given up the back nine holes of the Falcon golf course. The Falcon is now a 9 hole course. My concern is how the topography matches up...”
“I think this plan would be great for this community. Changing with the times bringing economic growth. Jobs. Improvement housing and business opportunities. Vibrancy to the community.”
“The affordable housing in that area near wonderful schools and senior assisted living condominiums would be great. For the military to even think of leasing or selling land for these...”
“The greedy s.o.b.s have already screwed up the whole town.i never dreamed that it would be the way it is. It's a damn shame!!!”
“All the greedy sobs already screwed up the whole town . I was raised here as kid and never dreamed this kind of crap would happen to this place. It's...”
“BS Affordable Housing My A$$! DO NOT DO IT Gen Geraghty! Keep Eglin Fed Owned and Controlled! Seriously they think they can get or even afford Poquito Bayou and Eglin...”
“They think that Eglin AFB is going to give up there golf course!!!! They are so delusional!!”