District 3 represents Florida’s Panhandle. Its 1,402,000 residents are spread over 16 counties and 11,500 square miles. Each day motorists travel more than 26.1 million miles on state roads.
Four rail lines and three deep-water ports help move products into and out of the district. There are 127 airports to accommodate airborne travel. FDOT provides funding to assist the two major transit authorities aiding those who rely on public transportation.
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is proposing a new four-lane roadway, approximately 24 miles in length, referred to as the West Bay Parkway. The West Bay Parkway PD&E Study will be divided into two segments (refer to the map on the inside of the handout containing more information on the project, available HERE), with each segment having its own PD&E study.
The benefits of the new facility include improving mobility and interconnectivity in the regional transportation network and enhancing traveler safety. Additionally, the improvements will provide better access to the new Panama City-Bay County International Airport, improve hurricane evacuation and emergency response capabilities, promote economic development in the region, and increase capacity and relieve existing and anticipated traffic congestion, particularly along the US 98 corridor.
One of the first steps in identifying potential locations for the new roadway is to develop alternative corridors (which vary in widths from 500 to 1,000 feet). Through the utilization of Land Suitability Mapping (LSM), the project team has identified nine alternative corridors for Segment 1 and eight alternative corridors for Segment 2. These alternative corridors are currently under review and are being analyzed.
Since the actual right-of-way required for West Bay Parkway (a range of between 150 and 350 feet, depending on the type of roadway that is ultimately selected) will be much less than the corridor widths, potential locations for the roadway can be developed within the corridors during the next phase of the PD&E study.