Law enforcement, county officials warn residents to stay off roadways

Matt Algarin
Log Photographer Kathy Harrison captured this shot of an icy Marler Bridge this morning.

Icy roads are causing havoc in Destin.

“Since 10 p.m. last night, there have been 15 reported traffic crashes,” said Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Michele Nicholson. “There were no major injuries.”

Unless it’s an emergency, officials from the sheriff’s office and Okaloosa County are urging motorists to stay off the roads.

County crews have begun inspecting roadways this morning, according to Public Information Officer Kathy Newby. They have confirmed that bridges and roadways have “significant accumulations of ice.”

“If you must be on the road, assume any roadways and bridges are iced at this time, and adjust driving patterns accordingly.”

Newby told The Log that both the Brooks Bridge and the Mid-Bay Bridge have been closed by the Florida Department of Transportation as of about 9 a.m. Newby said there is no news on Marler Bridge at this time.

Battalion Chief Bronson Coleman from the Destin Fire Control District said the intersection of Main Street and U.S. Hwy. 98 in Destin is “pretty bad” and covered with ice.

Driving into work this morning, he said the roadways were pretty slick and not ideal for travel.

“I’ve got a four-wheel drive truck and I went four high, it was slick,” he said. “If you turn a corner too fast you are going to go off the road, or if you hit your breaks too hard you are going to end up in the back of the car in front of you.”

Despite the icy road conditions, he said they have yet to respond to an accident in Destin this morning.

For those that are wiling to venture out, there are shopping options available today.

Both Grand Boulevard and Silver Sands are maintaining regular operating hours today. Both properties open at 10 a.m., but mall representatives are advising all staff to use extreme caution and judgment with regard to their travel. Some businesses are expected to open late.

After initially planning to open at noon, Destin Commons has decided it will not open today.