Medians on Harbor Boulevard in Destin are getting a makeover from the bridge to Airport Road

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

The 5.2-mile stretch of median from the Marler Bridge to Airport Road along Harbor Boulevard is currently getting a makeover. 

The $1.4 million project is fully funded by the Florida Department of Transportation through a grant, according to Catherine Card, city of Destin public information officer. 

“The first stage of the project includes the removal of all of the shrubs plus a few trees, the installation of two irrigation systems and two new wells,” Card said. 

A crew with Pesacola-based Gator Boring & Trenching run a bore beneath U.S. Highway 98 in Destin in preparation for new irrigation lines that will service the highway medians in the city.

The contract duration is 180 days with a two-year establishment period by the contractor, Card said. 

Work started in late March. In recent weeks workers have been laying pipes, digging out shrubs and cutting down trees. 

More city news:Susan Destin to retire after more than 25 years of service with the city of Destin

“It’s not a fly-by-night project,” said Mayor Gary Jarvis. “By all indications they are doing a good job … very thorough. From my observation it looks like it is well designed.”

In the past there have been concerns as to how the medians looked, Jarvis said. 

“So, I’m excited at what we are fixing to get through this grant. We’re really happy to be working with DOT on it,” Jarvis said. 

Paris Waldroup and Shane Kiser assemble lengths of irrigation pipe that will run beneath U.S. Highway 98 and provide water to support vegetation on the city's medians.

The design for the medians were closely coordinated with the city of Destin along with the Scenic Corridor members, Card said. 

“Design will provide a colorful native palette to include azaleas, confederated jasmine and Adams’s needles,” she said. 

More:'Trees are good for our soul,' Mayor Jarvis says at Arbor Day celebration

The corridor will also display approximately 34 new southern live oaks along with 24 yaupon holly, with small plants such as liriope, loropetalum, dwarf Buford holly and others. 

The mayor is not only excited about the makeover for the medians but for things to come such as the undergrounding of utilities from the bridge to Airport Road. 

These pipes will be run beneath U.S. Highway 98 in Destin to provide irrigation water to the highway's medians.

“You get rid of those utilities and it will be a remarkable change in the corridor. Plus, with the upgraded medians … it’s going to be a game changer in our harbor district. It’s going to be aesthetically pleasing,” Jarvis said. 

But in the meantime, the city asks that drivers in the work zone to use an abundance of caution as workers and equipment are present.