To enhance economic development in both the Gulf and Bay counties, as well as increase traffic capacity and improve hurricane evacuation, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) proposed the Gulf Coast Parkway—a new 30-mile-plus divided roadway, planned to connect U.S. 98 in Gulf County with U.S. 231 and U.S. 98 (Tyndall Parkway) in Bay County. FDOT selected Gresham Smith’s Tallahassee office to lead design efforts on the first phase of the parkway, which stretches approximately 2 miles from County Road 2315 (Star Avenue) to U.S. 98 (Tyndall Parkway) in Bay County.
To be located within a 250-foot-wide right of way corridor, the four-lane roadway will incorporate 6.5-foot paved bicycle lanes adjacent to the outside travel lanes in both directions. Also included will be 5-foot sidewalks along both sides of the project that are separated from the back of the curb by a grassed area. Improvements will also be integrated along County Road 2315 (Star Avenue) and US 98 (Tyndall Parkway), adding left-turn lanes and signalization. Along with the design effort, Gresham Smith will also lead drainage enhancements, signalization, environmental permitting and utility coordination, and will coordinate public involvement meetings.
These planned improvements will not only benefit the community by relieving traffic congestion and opening up the corridor to cyclists and pedestrians, but will also stimulate coastal economies through increased mobility and freight traffic, and help facilitate safe and speedy evacuations in the event of a hurricane.