Gresham, Smith and Partners, a leading national engineering, planning, architecture and interior design firm, announces it has been contracted by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to provide engineering services for nearly 4.8 miles along SR 30/US 98 in Okaloosa County, between Fort Walton Beach and Destin. The project will include resurfacing, restoration and rehabilitation of an existing roadway which serves as a critical East-West connector for local and regional traffic flow, hurricane evacuations and economic development in the area. The GS&P team will incorporate key stakeholders throughout the planning and design process by establishing a community awareness plan.

"As a designated Hurricane Evacuation Route in northwest Florida, the improvements to this road will play a critical role in the improved safety of residents and visitors to the area," stated Larry Kelley, District 3 Secretary, FDOT. "GS&P's thorough review and knowledge of existing conditions as well as their inclusion of key area stakeholders in the planning and design process will be critical to the design's success."

The project's primary purpose is to rehabilitate the pavement and extend the roadway's longevity. In addition to addressing ADA-related issues, drainage, guardrail and pedestrian traffic signal upgrades will be made and grade differences along the road will be addressed. Preliminary research was conducted along the corridor to aid in the development of design improvements which included day and nighttime review of the corridor in both dry and wet conditions. Key stakeholders will be involved throughout the process and include the following: Eglin Air Force Base, Okaloosa County's Public Works Department, Okaloosa County Sheriff's Department, FDOT Maintenance and other private property owners.

"Our team will utilize a field-based design approach that will include reviews, coordination and stakeholder involvement to ensure the design we produce will appropriately and efficiently address the needs of FDOT and the community," stated Kent Black, P.E., project manager, Gresham, Smith and Partners. "A strong emphasis will be given to motorist, pedestrian and bicyclist safety throughout the project as we aim to increase the mobility and livability in this area of Northwest Florida."

The design for the improvements is scheduled to be completed by Spring of 2010 and construction could begin in 2011.