FDOT is studying the widening of an approximately 35-mile stretch of Interstate 10, and soon will host a meeting about various proposed upgrades to and along State Road 85.
CRESTVIEW — A four-lane, approximately 35-mile-long stretch of Interstate 10 in Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties might be widened to six lanes several years from now to improve traffic safety, efficiency and capacity, according to the Florida Department of Transportation.
This past summer, the FDOT began two project development and environmental studies to analyze the existing characteristics, evaluate community needs and impacts and develop proposed conceptual improvements for this part of the interstate.
The agency is studying two segments of the highway: An approximately 23.5-mile section from east of State Road 281 (Avalon Boulevard) in Santa Rosa County to west of County Road 189 (Log Lake Road) in Okaloosa County, and an approximately 11.5-mile section from west of C.R. 189 to east of S.R. 85 (Ferdon Boulevard) in Crestview.
Possible upgrades to the interchanges at Avalon and Ferdon boulevards will be evaluated during the study period, which is anticipated to last until August 2021.
The FDOT plans to provide updates on the possible widening work at a public meeting next April.
"I think it will be good for Crestview," Crestview City Manager Tim Bolduc said Friday. "I think it’s forward thinking. We look forward to seeing them complete that project."
In September, the FDOT completed work to widen 4.1 miles of I-10 between Avalon Boulevard and the Escambia Bay Bridge to six lanes, FDOT District 3 spokesman Ian Satter said. East of Crestview, the interstate stays four lanes wide until the Tallahassee area, he said.
The potentially widened section of I-10 in Okaloosa County would tie in with the new interchange the FDOT plans to build north of where Antioch Road and the PJ Adams Parkway meet in Crestview.
The interchange is funded for construction in 2021. Its current design and construction cost totals $94.9 million.
The interchange is expected to be a major part of the southwest Crestview bypass project. Design work on the bypass could take several more years.
Other major FDOT projects also are proposed for the local area. In the winter of 2021, the agency expects to receive bids for work to resurface and increase the safety of an 11-mile section of S.R. 85, from north of S.R. 123 to Hospital Drive north of the interstate in Crestview.
The resurfacing work alone is expected to cost more than $21 million. Other planned improvements include sidewalk construction and lighting, traffic light and drainage enhancements, as well as ramp access upgrades at I-10.
The FDOT plans to host an open house on these various proposed S.R. 85-corridor projects at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Warrior’s Hall, 201 Stillwell Ave. in Crestview. A formal presentation is scheduled for 6 p.m.