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DOT Not Moving Highway 98

By: Valerie Lacy
By: Valerie Lacy

Heading down Highway 98 has always been a drive with a view. It's what makes the "forgotten coast" so special, but during Hurricane Dennis the view turned terrible as crashing waves chewed up the scenic road, leaving residents stranded. Some thought it was time to bring 98 inland.

Sterling Wilhoit, owner of Lanark Plaza, says, "It would be the number one best thing to happen to the county because there's no evacuation route. As it is now, 98's five feet above sea level."

Residents say it comes down to two things, a beautiful view while you're driving or just plain cold hard cash.

Bill Miller, owner of Miller's Seahorse Antiques, says, "A lot of people love to make this driver where you can see the water. They don't want to ride on I-10 70 miles an hour, don't see nothing."

Bill will be happy to know that for now, Highway 98 is staying put, the Department of Transportation opting to shore up the road instead.

Tommie Speights, spokesman for the Department of Transportation, says, "A sea wall on the south side of existing us 98 and a combination of concrete blocks on that side to help prevent the erosion or washing away of the highway."

The cost is $90 million with 82 percent of the money coming from federal funding. The rest of the bill goes to the state of Florida. Construction is expected to begin in August after this year's hurricane season has begun.

The Department of Transportation is holding a hearing to discuss this proposal at the Eastpoint Fire Department Tuesday night from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.


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