GULF BREEZE — The widening of approximately four miles of State Road 30 (U.S. Highway 98) in Santa Rosa County has been funded for final design and construction.

State Sen. Doug Broxson (R-Gulf Breeze) made the announcement about the funding Thursday, according to a press release from Broxson's office.

The stretch of road will be widened from four lanes up to six, the release said. The improvement will include the construction of an extensive storm water system with ponds.

“I am pleased to announce that FDOT will begin the six lane-widening project from Bayshore Road to Portside Drive,” Broxson said in the release. “Special thanks to former FDOT Sec. Mike Dew, who made this commitment to our office during his tenure, and to District Sec. Phillip Gainer, who continued the commitment to Santa Rosa County.

"This vital project will drastically improve safety and traffic flow in South Santa Rosa County," he added.

The preliminary design is still being finalized, while right-of-way acquisition is complete. The rest of the project will be completed using a design build contract to include the development of the final design and construction activities.

A public hearing is being scheduled for late June to present the improvements along the corridor.

The estimated budget for the project is approximately $69.6 million. This includes finalizing the design and completing the construction. FDOT anticipates opening bids on the design build contract in Spring of 2020.

“It is my hope to work with the federal government in completing this expansion through the Gulf Islands National Seashore to join the six-lane construction of the Pensacola Bay Bridge,” Broxon said.