Santa Rosa County broke ground Friday on the Pea Ridge Connector, a new four-lane divided highway that will connect U.S. 90 to Hamilton Bridge Road and provide much-needed traffic relief to a busy central Santa Rosa County corridor.
The roadway will act as a parallel to Woodbine Road, Chumuckla Highway, West Spencer Field Road and State Road 87, according to a press release from the county. The project includes both bike lanes and sidewalks and will provide connections between several identified activity centers.
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“I am excited to see construction begin on this project that will bring positive change to our area for generations to come,” said Commissioner Sam Parker, who represents District 1, which encompasses the Pace and Pea Ridge areas, in the news release. “This is the largest road infrastructure project undertaken by Santa Rosa County in over 30 years. It will alleviate traffic congestion from nearby roadways, allow quicker response times by our first responders and provide the school district access to property they own for a future school site. This would not have been possible without the help and support of the landowners who donated the property and the support of my fellow county commissioners.”
The Pea Ridge Connector, formally known as the Bell Lane extension, is a project within the Florida-Alabama 2045 Long Range Transportation Plan. The Pea Ridge Connector project was first identified as a need 20 years ago, according to the county, and has been included in the LRTP updates every five years since, as required by federal transportation planning process.
The analysis was developed based on an evaluation of future land use and traffic demand along the project’s corridor, with a projected volume of 8,000 vehicles per day.
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The nearly 2-mile connector will start at the corner of U.S. 90 and Santa Villa Drive, near the Lowe’s Home Improvement store, and end at Hamilton Bridge Road, approximately 100 yards west of the Pond Creek Bridge. Currently, without the connector, those who live in the more densely-crowded areas in the Hamilton Bridge Road and Berryhill Road corridors have to travel on U.S. 90, Glover Lane and East Spencer Field Road to get to Hamilton Bridge Road.
The connector will alleviate traffic on Glover Lane and East Spencer Field Road by providing a direct connecting route between U.S. 90 and Hamilton Bridge.
The Pea Ridge Connector is expected to be completed in the fall of 2022. Funding for the $8.8 million project will come from the Local Option Sales Tax.