Construction set to begin on Big Redfish Bridge on 30A

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Repairs to the bridge located in Blue Mountain Beach begin Nov. 1 and are expected to take 90 days.

DEBORAH WHEELER @WaltonSunDeb

The road and bridges of County Highway 30A have had their problems, possibly due to the soft ground and brackish water around them making them more vulnerable.

Walton County Public Works is set to begin work on one of the bridges Nov. 1. Repairs to the bridge at Big Redfish Lake, located in Blue Mountain Beach on 30A, are expected to take 90 days.

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This is not the first time sections of 30A have needed to be closed for such repairs. Draper Lake Bridge was constructed in the fall and winter of 2015/2016 resulting in 30A being closed at that section for 120 days.

To accommodate the repairs and construction, this section of 30A will be closed beginning Oct. 23 to vehicular through traffic from County Road 283 to CR 83 at the project site until Jan. 30. However, County Traffic Engineer Chance Powell admits this schedule may need to be adjusted if weather interferes.

The detour route during construction will be from CR 283 to U.S. Highway 98 and back to 30A via CR 83 for westbound traffic and opposite for eastbound traffic.

Okaloosa Gas will conduct gas main relocations for the bridge construction beginning Oct. 16 at which time the bike path will be closed at the project site and throughout construction.

Culverts at Big Redfish washed out in April of 2014, which necessitated the closing of that section of 30A for a short period of time.

When the culverts washed out the road was severed and then temporarily built back with the same culverts to get the road back open.

“But a design was started to replace the culverts with a bridge,” said Powell. “Now, those culverts under 30A will be replaced with a bridge.”

This action is expected to give the roadway more stability.

“There were several coastal dune lakes that were cut off with the original construction of 30A many years ago,” said Powell. “When 30A was built the crossings at Stallworth, Oyster, Draper, Big Redfish, Little Redfish, Alligator, Deer, and Camp Creek were done with either culverts or box culverts. These structures have a hardened bottom that will not allow the lake hydrology to function unimpeded.”

The county has corrected this issue at Oyster, Draper, and Camp Creek with the construction of bridges.

Powell said that after Big Redfish Lake this year, plans are to correct the issue at Alligator and Little Redfish next year.

“We are currently in the design stage for a bridge at those two lakes. We are still evaluating the conditions at Stallworth and Deer to determine our plans for them in the future,” he said.

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