TYNDALL — Officials broke ground at Tyndall Air Force Base for a flyover bridge on Wednesday that will help improve traffic on U.S. 98 and through the site’s main gate.


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The $19.9 million project is something that has been talked about for several years. Gov. Ron DeSantis was in attendance for the groundbreaking ceremony.


“Having this flyover, people who are going to and from, they’re not going to have to even stop once they get to a certain point,” DeSantis said. “We think that will alleviate traffic not only for the folks getting on the base, but also for the broader community.”


The two U.S. 98 travel lanes will be elevated above Tyndall Drive by the main entrance to the base.


The travel lanes will elevate above Louisiana Avenue, which will help the base by connecting the north side of the base with operational facilities on the south side.


Col. Brian Laidlaw has been at the forefront of rebuilding Tyndall post-Hurricane Michael and is excited about the future of the base.


“This project is the first, but it’s definitely one of many that will truly make Tyndall Air Force Base an air force base of the future,” Laidlaw said.


The project is a collaborative effort of the Florida Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration and TAFB 325 fighter wing.


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According to FDOT, the average annual daily traffic counts shows approximately 36,000 drivers travel U.S. 98 through TAFB everyday.


In addition to the flyover, there will be construction of sidewalks and drainage upgrades. The upgrades will include new detention ponds to better manage storm water.


Construction of the flyover is expected to start soon and is estimated to be done by 2021.


“Just think, two years from now in 2021 when this project is complete, we’ll be able stand right here and look right over there and watch traffic flow unimpeded,” Laidlaw said.


DeSantis concluded his speech by talking about the importance of continuing to rebuild Tyndall and Bay County.


“It’s been great advocating for Tyndall, specifically with the president and he’s all in on this,” DeSantis said. “We have a lot of money coming from the supplemental and we want to make sure that money is getting out and the projects are getting done.”