Construction work began in August 2008 on the $12 million transportation improvement project on U.S. 331 in Walton County. The highway is being widened to four lanes between the southern end of the Clyde B. Wells Bridge and the U.S. 98 intersection to increase capacity and help relieve traffic congestion.
“U.S. 331 is a main thoroughfare for residents and tourists” said Larry Kelley, FDOT District Three Secretary. “This project will help traffic flow and improve one of the main hurricane evacuation routes in the region.”
The work also includes safety and drainage improvements, new sidewalks and the construction of bicycle lanes.
The speed limit on U.S. 331 has been reduced to 40 MPH. Drivers are encouraged to drive with caution in this and other construction zones. Be especially alert for construction workers, and slow moving equipment entering and leaving the roadway.
The project is currently scheduled for completion by the end of 2009.
Construction Work Zone Safety
The Florida Department of Transportation urges motorists to use caution and obey the speed limit in the U.S. 331 and all construction zones. The speed limit on U.S. 331 is currently reduced to 40 mph.
Obeying the speed limit is not only important to the safety of the workers and other drivers; it will also keep you from getting a speeding ticket. The Walton County Sheriff’s Office says it is strictly enforcing the 40 mph speed limit on U.S. 331.
“It is common sense to slow down in a construction zone,” said Bill Chapman, the Walton County Undersheriff. “It is easy to get distracted by the heavy equipment, construction workers and changes in traffic patterns, so it is important for drivers to slow down and be alert.”
For your safety, and that of your fellow motorists and workers on the project, here are some safety tips for driving in a construction zone:
- STAY ALERT. Expect the unexpected when entering a work zone.
- PAY ATTENTION. Signs and work zone flaggers save lives.
- TURN ON YOUR HEADLIGHTS. Workers and other motorists must see you.
- DON'T TAILGATE. Unexpected stops frequently occur in work zones.
- DON'T SPEED. Note the posted speed limits in and around the work zone.
- KEEP UP WITH THE TRAFFIC FLOW. Dedicate your full attention to the roadway and those traveling around you.
- DON'T CHANGE LANES IN THE WORK ZONE. The time saved just isn't worth the chance.
- MINIMIZE DISTRACTIONS. Avoid changing radio stations and using cellular phones while driving in the work zone.
- BE PATIENT. Remember, the construction crew members are working to improve your commute.
U.S. 331 work completed in phases
The first of three phases is underway for the U.S. 331 improvement project. Each phase includes a separate detour and a specific list of objectives to accomplish.
The scope of work for each detour is outlined below:
Traffic is currently shifted to the west side of the roadway while crews work on the east side of U.S. 331. The construction zone stretches from just north of the U.S. 98/U.S. 331 intersection to the south end of the Clyde B. Wells Bridge.
Planned improvements during this phase of the work include:
- Rebuilding and widening the roadway to accommodate the additional northbound lane.
- Safety and drainage enhancements.
- A new median with specially designed crossovers.
- New stormwater retention ponds, sidewalks and bicycle lanes.
Once work is completed on the east side of the roadway, both north and southbound traffic will be shifted to the new travel lanes to allow for work on the west side of U.S. 331. Improvements include:
- Rebuilding and widening the roadway to accommodate the additional southbound lane.
- Safety and drainage enhancements.
- Continued work on the median and crossovers
- Completion of the new stormwater retention ponds, sidewalks and bicycle lanes.
In this phase of work, the construction team will focus on necessary modifications to the U.S. 98/U.S. 331 intersection.
The estimated completion date for the project is late 2009.
Detour in place at Bay Magnolia Lane
Bay Magnolia Lane is closed at U.S. 331. A temporary detour route has been constructed to provide access to Bay Magnolia Lane from U.S. 331 and will be in place until approximately the spring of 2009.
New median will improve safety on U.S. 331
A new median will be constructed from the U.S. 331/U.S. 98 intersection to the south end of the Clyde B. Wells Bridge. It will improve traffic flow and safety by limiting left turns and U-Turns to specially designed crossovers.
Northbound traffic will be able to make left turns and/or U-Turns at the following intersections along U.S. 331:
- South Greenway Trail
- Coastal Centre Drive
- North Greenway Trail
- Chat Holley Road
Southbound traffic will be able to make left turns and/or U-Turns at the following intersections along U.S. 331:
- Near Elmore's Landing location
- Coastal Centre Drive
- South Centre Trail/Sherriff's Drive
- U.S. 98
Lane closures restricted to overnight hours
One lane of traffic in each direction will be maintained at all times on U.S. 331. In addition, lane closures within 500 feet of the U.S. 98/U.S. 331 intersection will take place at night to minimize traffic impacts.
C. W. Roberts Contracting, Inc. of Hosford, Fla. is constructing the project for the Florida Department of Transportation, District Three. Genesis CE&I Services, Inc. of Crestview is providing construction, engineering and inspection support for FDOT. Both C.W. Roberts and Genesis CE&I have a wealth of transportation infrastructure construction experience in the State of Florida.
Access to businesses and private property
The construction team will maintain access to businesses and other private property at all times. Driveway replacement work may sometimes change access points. The contractor will install customized signage to clearly mark driveway entrances for all businesses along U.S. 331.
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