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Public Meeting On The Future Of Bayfront Parkway On Tuesday

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  Pensacola-area residents get one more chance, on Tuesday, to comment on a feasibility study on changing State Road 196, that is, Bayfront Parkway.

The focus is on the stretch of Bayfront from Tarragona Street to East Chase Street, and how to improve safety, maintain access to the Port of Pensacola, and providing access to travelers in the area.

“We’ll provide the final concepts that were gathered from the data and previous comments, and ideas previously gathered from the previous public inputs gathered in April and July,” said Tanya Bratton with the Florida Department of Transportation.

The last public meeting in July featured a number of improvements under consideration, such as revamping the Strategic Intermodal System route. According to FDOT, that’s a roadway that connects two major transportation facilities – Interstate 110 and the Port of Pensacola, in this case.

Four different alternatives and concepts will be on display at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Tuesday – including complete streets and a roundabout at Bayfront and 9th Avenue.

“There will be display boards that will have operational improvements,” said Bratton. “Such as signage upgrades, pedestrian safety enhancements. And of course we’ll have a ‘no build’ alternative.”

One project not on this drawing board is the Pensacola Bay Bridge. The Department of Transportation on Monday sent out the Request for Proposals to those interested in replacing the 55-year-old span. FDOT’s Ian Satter says they’re looking at some ideas, with groundbreaking still set for 2017.

The new state budget that took effect October 1st contains about $2 billion for upgrading northwest Florida’s transportation infrastructure. A portion of that will go to building the new bridge to connect Pensacola and Gulf Breeze.

Meanwhile, FDOT’s Tanya Bratton says after Tuesday’s open house, work will begin to finalize the plan by the end of this year.

“We’ll take the comments back and look at that,” Bratton said. “And if there’s any further analysis they need to make regarding this project. This feasibility is estimated to be completed in December.”

Once again, the open house will be held starting at 5:30 Tuesday afternoon at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Pensacola.