Through March 31 crews plan to burn trees that were removed to make way for a new industrial access entry road to the general aviation airport.
CRESTVIEW — People who live, work and travel by the south side of Bob Sikes Airport (CEW) might see and/or smell smoke in the area until the end of the month.
That’s because through March 31, crews plan to burn trees that were removed to make way for a new industrial access entry road to the general aviation airport.
The new road will be called the “Foy Shaw Parkway,” named after a former Crestview mayor and prominent businessman.
The two-lane, 0.8-mile-long parkway will run between the intersection of U.S. Highway 90 and Cavalier Drive and the intersection of John Givens Road and Skyline Drive. U.S. 90 is also known as State Road 10.
On Thursday, crews began burning the trees that were cleared away, said Eric Broome, project administrator for the Okaloosa County Public Works Department.
“When all the clearing and grubbing was done for the new road, they piled up the stumps and the trees and limbs into a large hole,” Broome said. “It’s like a shallow grave for all the trees that were cleared. They’re burning all that vegetation.”
The burn hole is adjacent to Cavalier Drive.
The burning “is controlled in the sense that it’s permitted and authorized on a daily basis” by the Florida Forestry Service, Broome said.
He noted that smoke is more likely to occur at the start of the burning each morning, before the fire grows very hot. Smoke also will be produced when green vegetation is burned, he said.
“If it’s too hot, too dry or too windy, the Forest Service won’t give authorizations,” Broome said.
The new road, he said, will provide direct access to John Givens Road and the airport.
“On the south end, folks have been having to go on Shoffner Boulevard or some other residential street to get to the airport,” Broome said.
In February, the county gave the contractor, Anderson Columbia Co. Inc., of Marianna, the notice to proceed with construction of the parkway project. It’s expected to last for about a year.
The total cost of the parkway work is a little more than $7.4 million.
The Florida Department of Transportation is providing almost $5.8 million toward the overall cost, with the remainder covered by county airport funds and other local sources, according to information from county Airports Director Tracy Stage.