The first three phases of the PJ Adams Parkway widening project are expected to be completed in early 2022.
CRESTVIEW — The late PJ Adams would be happy to know that the future version of the road named after him will be part of something very great, Okaloosa County District 1 Commissioner Graham Fountain said Wednesday morning.
That’s when Fountain and his four fellow commissioners joined other local officials to ceremonially break ground for the $14.9 million PJ Adams Parkway expansion project. The event took place in front of Crestview Fire Station No. 2 next to the parkway.
The 2 1/2-year construction project led by C.W. Roberts Contracting of Freeport will include widening a little more than a 1-mile section of the two-lane parkway to four lanes in three phases, from State Road 85 to Wild Horse Drive. It also will include adding turn lanes, sidewalks and traffic lights and making stormwater upgrades.
“Bear with us, because there’s going to be a little bit of confusion, but when it’s all done, it’s going to be great,” said Fountain, a Crestview native whose district includes a part of the Hub City.
Starting Monday, crews will perform survey and marking tasks for utility infrastructure relocations. The relocations could take about a year to be completed, county Public Works Director Jason Autrey said. Land-clearing work is slated to begin Sept. 30, he said.
Eventually, the overall project’s fourth and final phase will extend from Wild Horse Drive to the Florida Department of Transportation’s planned Interstate 10 interchange at the west end of the parkway.
The wider parkway is expected to help relieve traffic congestion on SR 85 and, along with the new interchange, will be a major part of the southwest Crestview bypass project. Design work on the bypass could take several more years.
During the parkway project, new traffic signals will be installed where Villacrest and Key Lime Place intersect with the parkway and where Villacrest and Ashley drives meet the parkway. Also, the intersection of Wild Horse and Northview drives with PJ Adams will be rebuilt and will receive an upgraded signal.
More than three dozen people attended Wednesday’s ceremony, which was rescheduled from Sept. 9 because of rainy weather. The attendees included Fountain’s wife, Felicia, the eldest granddaughter of PJ Adams.
Adams was a timber man, cattle and hog farmer and developer who oversaw the development of the now-closed Foxwood Country Club, as well as residential areas in Crestview.
While celebrating the the parkway expansion, Fountain on Wednesday also was looking ahead to the completion of the overall southwest bypass.
“I just want the people to know that, like the old song that Paul Williams wrote for The Carpenters, ‘We’ve only just begun,’” he said at the groundbreaking ceremony.
Also during the event, Commission Chairman Kelly Windes said the equation to put the overall, $200 million bypass project together is “very big and very complex with many moving parts” as far as organizing and funding the work. Windes represents District 5, which includes Destin.
He said Commissioner Nathan Boyles, whose District 3 includes a part of Crestview, did much of the “heavy lifting” to make the overall bypass project a reality. It will be paid for with a mix of federal, state, county and city of Crestview funding.