Brooks Bridge, Marler Bridge open (UPDATE)

William Hatfield
Traffic is being escorted across area bridges this morning as lane restrictions are in place.


After being closed due to icy conditions, then partially open this morning, both the Brooks Bridge and Marler Bridge have opened all lanes of traffic.


As roads and bridges begin to thaw out this morning, traffic into Destin is slow going.

Making his commute from Fort Walton Beach into Destin, one Log staffer said it "took me an hour and a half" to get to the office.

Both the Marler Bridge and Brooks Bridge are open, but only one lane of traffic is flowing. Cars are being escorted over the bridges in alternating directions.

Sand was dumped overnight making the drive safe for the commute.

Mid-Bay Bridge is still closed at this time.

The WAVE Buses in Okaloosa County are planning to run a normal schedule today.  Delays are anticipated this morning as traffic over the Brooks and Marler bridges are restricted to one lane.

THURSDAY A.M. UPDATE A hard freeze advisory is in effect until 9 a.m.  

Okaloosa: Brooks Bridge is open with limited access. Marler Bridge is open with limited access. Shalimar Bridge is open with limited access. Mid-Bay Bridge is currently closed. Cinco Bayou Bridge is iced over. Use caution.State Road 85 at McWhorter Avenue has ice on the road. Use caution.

State Road 85’s Double Bridges at Live Oak Church Road has been iced over.

U.S. 90 at Valley Road in Crestview has ice. Use caution. U.S. 90 at County Road 393 in Crestview has patches of ice. Use caution. State Road 85 at Rasberry Road in Crestview has ice on the road. Use caution. State Road 189’s overpass at Eglin is shut down. State Road 85 southbound is shut down near State Road 123.  

Interstate 10 is closed from the Alabama line to Madison County.


Bridge on Senterfitt Road between Coy Burgess and Ezra Brannon Road is closed due to ice. State Road 285 from Mossy Head to Bob Sikes Road is closed. Use alternate route. Santa Rosa: Garcon Point Bridge has suspended its tolls until further notice. State Road 87 near I-10 in Milton is closed due to ice on the road. Navarre Beach Causeway has ice on the roadway. Use caution. Gulf Breeze Parkway at Abercrombie Road has ice both ways. Use caution.  

Wednesday 1:30 p.m. update: As expected, bridge travel has been treacherous. Perhaps more unexpected, almost all local bridges have been closed, and Destin is effectively cut off to the west and to the north with no timetable on when Marler Bridge and Mid-Bay Bridge would be reopened.

With Okaloosa Island as a literal island, “people are stuck,” said Randy McDaniel with the county’s Emergency Management department. County officials are urging the Department of Transportation to find a way to open at least two bridges safely -- with Brooks Bridge also closed.

“We are pushing the DOT to do that,” said. “What they have to do is truck sand in from the Holt area, which is slow-going.”

Brooks Bridge was closed after a reported accident Wednesday morning. At about 7:45 a.m., sand was spread across the roadway and officials reopened the span. Cars immediately started slipping and the bridge was closed again, according to Daily News photographer Nick Tomecek. The bridge was still closed as of 1:30 p.m.

While Destin's Marler Bridge was open much of the morning, ice was visible and motorists were taking it slow. By 12:30 p.m., Marler Bridge became the last connective artery to be closed due to dangerous and icy conditions.

The Mid-Bay Bridge had also been open and closed throughout the morning. It currently remains closed as of noon. If the bridge reopens, tolls have reportedly been removed for the day.

Pensacola Bay Bridge and the Navarre causeway were the first to close overnight. The U.S. Highway 331 bridge followed suit hours later after an accident in the wee hours of the morning. It was reopened Wednesday a little before noon, though the Walton County Sheriff's Office advised residents and travelers to "play it safe and stay home."

With little in the way of salt, officials are relying on warmer weather and sun to melt the ice off the roads. With only a few hours expected to be above freezing on a mostly cloudy Wednesday, forecasters were skeptical. Consider this post on Twitter from the National Weather Service: 

"You think the ice is bad out there right now? Well, the ice will likely be WORSE by this evening!! Black ice will form everywhere the ice slightly melted today. Keep that in mind."

Because of low temps, McDaniel said roads will remain dangerous for at least the next 24 hours but probably longer.

"We could still have black ice Friday morning."

He said state crews are doing the best they can, but they are spead thin.

"They are so covered up with work."

To see a list of active incidents from the Florida Highway Patrol and road closures, click here.