LETTER: Building a better bridge to Destin

Bill Tennis, Speaking Out

An open letter to Gov. Rick Scott:

A possible solution to the Brooks Bridge problem and congestion on U.S. 98 is creating an alternate U.S. 98 on Santa Rosa Island from Destin to Gulf Breeze. For more than 50 years U.S. 98 has been the mainstay of our community and the lifeblood of our tourist industry.

Today, U.S. 98 is a headache, a bottleneck, a deathtrap and an ever-growing hindrance for our continued growth and well-being.

The cost of such a project is lower than most. Much of the right-of-way is through public properties (i.e. Eglin Reservation, Okaloosa Island Authority and Santa Rosa Island Authority) and has the added advantage of being improved and paved. At the moment there is only .5 of a mile on Eglin’s part of the road on the island that is not paved.

The proposed route would cut in half the time it takes to go from Gulf Breeze to Destin. It would put our massive tourist traffic closer to its final destination from Destin to Pensacola.

The present U.S. 98 would continue to serve a very useful function proving safe and easy access for schools, churches and shopping centers.

There is a shortage of secondary east and west roads between neighborhoods. When the time comes, a bridge fails or a tug and tow disable a span, we would need the help of the Navarre and Gulf Breeze Bridges.

A Scenic U.S. 98 would be a big plus for our area for years to come.

Bill Tennis

Fort Walton Beach