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Multi-use island path could open in early ‘25

| Staff Reporters
Okaloosa County officials and local leaders broke ground this morning on the county’s multi-use “bridge to bridge” path.
The new island path will run along U.S. Highway 98’s south side, shown on the right. (Photo courtesy of Okaloosa County)

The 12-foot-wide and approximately four-mile-long path will run along the south side of U.S. Highway 98 and span between the Brooks Bridge, which connects Fort Walton Beach and the Okaloosa Island portion of Santa Rosa Island, and the Marler Bridge next to Destin.

The path will accommodate pedestrian and bicycle traffic, but motorized vehicles, such as golf carts, will not be allowed. The path will be built on federally owned land overseen by Eglin Air Force Base and could open in early 2025.

“This new path will be transformational for the health and safety of residents and visitors looking for recreational opportunities on Okaloosa Island,” District 2 County Commissioner Carolyn Ketchel, who was highly instrumental in making the project a reality, said in a news release. “I am so thankful to our Public Works team, Eglin Air Force Base, and residents for working together to enable this project to take shape.”

Today’s groundbreaking ceremony took place at the entrance to the county-owned John Beasley Park on Okaloosa Island.

The new path will be built with photoluminescent stone that will illuminate it at night. The project will also include the stabilization of parking areas commonly used by the public at designated beach access points.

Freeport-based C.W. Roberts Contracting Inc. is the contractor for the almost $3.73 million overall project, which is being paid for with various funding sources, including tourism revenue and a Florida Department of Transportation grant.

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