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Mar 5th, 2009 | 0

 

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THE EXPANSION OF THE BRIDGE spanning the Choctawhatchee Bay in Walton County has represented the most difficult part of the ongoing effort to get U.S. 331 four-laned countywide, with the bridge expansion cost recently estimated at $280 million. Recently a private company offered to expand the section of U.S. 331 from the south end of the bridge to SR-20 in Freeport. The project would include widening the bridge to four lanes by constructing a second parallel bridge across the bay. M.C. Davis, Walton County businessman and conservationist, was that the proposal could apparently be accepted and negotiated by the NFTCA without the approval of the BCC. “Who gave them this unique power?” he asked. “What is the urgency for 60 days?” he asked, calling for a much longer notification period to allow for the public to get informed and to encourage competing proposals. Davis said he had not previously heard the word “toll” in connection with the proposal, an indication that the public has not been provided with “the total picture.” He expressed strong opposition to a private company from outside the area “coming in and owning” this important part of the county’s transportation network.

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