Destin’s crosstown connector project is moving forward, but some local residents aren’t sold on the idea.
The project was planned in the late 1990s to relieve traffic from U.S. Highway 98. The more than 5-mile connector runs north of U.S. 98 and between Danny Wuerffel Way to the east and Stahlman Avenue to the west. Most of it consists of existing roads such as Commons Drive, Airport Road and Legion Drive. Its lone four-lane segment is the roughly 1.5-mile Airport Road, which was widened in 2008 at a cost of $7.6 million.
The connector’s final section will be a two-lane, 0.4-mile-long section between Benning and Beach drives, passing through the area of Anna Street, Sandalwood Court and Sandalwood Drive.
The Log reached out to readers on Facebook to asked locals to give their opinion on the project. Of the 131 comments received, only a handful were in support of the connector.
“I am moving back to a home on Main Street and the traffic around Legion and Airport Road is congested now,” replied Jan Reppert. “Bringing this corridor would be more fly-through traffic that needs to stay away from the neighborhoods in this area. Leave Destin proper as Destin proper!”
Another resident who has lived in Destin since the '90s shared similar thoughts.
“The tourists have learned the back ways … they hate the traffic as much as we do and are the main problem on the back roads,” said Tamme Risteter. “No to anything but an alternate route out of Destin proper.”
Construction of the final segment is slated to begin in September 2021 and expected to be substantially finished by May 2022.
Funding from the city and the Florida Department of Transportation makes up the bulk of the connector’s estimated $13.3 million cost. The price tag includes the design and engineering, as well as ongoing right of way acquisitions.
For the last leg of the project, the Okaloosa Count Commission will reimburse the city $4.8 million in bed tax money and FDOT has budgeted $2.7 million for the city.