This is a major change to causeway design. From WZEP: 331 Bridge, Walton Could See Refund Walton County could see money returned and the loan for the county’s share of the 331 bridge project could be paid off quicker. This means the half cent sales tax could go away sooner. The design build second bridge should have the contract agreement announcement on June 25. If the Florida Department of Transportation finds cost savings with the bid for the project, money should be returned. Ian Satter, Public Information Officer for the FDOT says District Three has always said they would look for cost savings and return any money not needed back to the county. This would be applied to the loan. Walton was asked to contribute $75 million to the bridge project. The commissioners faced a choice of not providing the money, allowing a toll or finding a way to pay the amount. After a public vote, a half cent sales tax was added to pay the $75 million loan plus fees. The loan agreement allows for early payback. The exact time can not be set due to the unknown economic factors with sales and how much tax will be brought in each year. The expectation is the payback would be 8 to 15 years. If money is returned, the payback time would be shortened. The FDOT has reduced the construction costs by using a causeway design. This means a shore to shore bridge is no longer required. The park and boat ramps will be rebuilt. The second bridge will go on the east side, the side where a previous bridge was. The design build allows for the project to move faster since some of the design aspects can be completed while construction starts.