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Beach Fanatic
Apr 3, 2009
Labor day weekend is traditionally one of the busiest weekends of the year
in on the beaches North West Florida. But not this year for areas of South
Walton County. The recent rains washed out a large section of the roadway on
Scenic Hwy 30a at Redfish Village due to an uncleared beaver dam.

Local businesses are seeing a drastic reduction in traffic which is greatly
affecting sales, and may lead to the loss of over 100 jobs, according to
some business owners. The local commissioner Cindy Meadows' office claims
the road will be closed for a year pending a replacement bridge
installation. In contrast the Walton County public works office issued word
through the Walton County Sheriffs Office that the road would reopen at noon
August 29th. From the pictures attached this is clearly questionable information.

The signage to and from the closed road sections are also a bone of
contention. They do not explain any detour for tourists causing them to turn
around but have no alternative marked route. The Walton County Tourist
Development Council is spending many dollars on advertising and promotions
to get people to visit the area, who are now angry at the way the closure is
being handled.

" I am very angry at the situation and the lack of responses other than
Cindy Meadows office that I have received, said Kelly Klein, Realtor. I
just counted 44 cars that turned around in front of my balcony area because
of the sign that reads "road under water".

Clint Brown from Chattanooga said, "Our family was taking the scenic route
to Seaside and Alys Beach but we have no clue which way to go after the turn
around. Thankfully a local resident helped us out. It's a sad situation they
need to fix soon".

All local and state agencies need to come together on this immediately for a
temporary and long term solution to this road closure. County Highway 30a
was designated a Florida State Scenic Highway in 2008.

A website has been formed at to highlight this issue and
has placed a petition for supporters.

A press conference is planned for 10am Monday 2nd of September at County
Road 30a and County Road 83 at Redfish Village with invites to the press,
local officials, and state representatives.

Contact information
Paul Vizard
(850) 366-2038


Beach Fanatic
Apr 3, 2009


Channel 13 & 7 and CBS are informed so lets get lots of people and photo
Any attention we can bring the wider we can get it can produce a result even
if it helps get it done a month sooner.


Beach Fanatic
Apr 3, 2009
I think we should be prepared for emergencies like this that threaten safety, business, and tourism. Whether a bridge out, sinkhole, walkover collapse, etc.

This hole should be filled and patched within a week of it happening. Then a bridge or other fix can happen over time as needed. Imagine if this had happened in June...


Beach Fanatic
Apr 3, 2009
Hello SWCC member,

We want to give you an update on the road outage on CR 30-A at Big Redfish Lake. We attended the recent County Commission meeting where the situation was discussed and have spoken with County staff as well. To the best of our knowledge, here is where things stand. For those members who are not residents, we have provided an explanation of the problem.

During the recent heavy rain event a portion of CR 30A was washed out in the culvert area crossing Big Redfish Lake. It has happened before and like before, fortunately, no one was hurt when the road gave way. Currently the portion of the road over the lake is still closed. We have been told the damage goes beyond the visible hole where the road section used to be and that the road remains in an "unsafe" condition for vehicles. The County is figuring out ways to better mark the situation to explain detour routes. The closure signs for the multi-use path across Big Redfish Lake have been removed and the path is now open for pedestrians, bicycles, etc.

At the meeting the Commissioners discussed the options for the road. Public works indicated the road could be patched but that a bridge is the actual "fix". They did indicate that without getting a diver in the water, the full extent of the damage cannot be determined. Due to safety concerns from underwater debris, etc., the use of a diver is not being done at this time.

There are two "pipes" under the road that connect the north and south side of Big Redfish Lake. When the culverts become blocked with debris or damaged in heavy rain events the lake builds up on the north side of CR 30A and ultimately overwashes over the roadway. While Public Works can get to the culverts to clear them on good weather days, in extraordinary events such as the recent deluge and tropical events, there are obvious safety issues with a crew trying to keep the culverts unclogged during the event. Sometimes, as in this case, by the time the weather event is over, the damage is done.

A repair would require more detailed damage assessment. Both a temporary repair and a bridge require engineering, permitting and obviously construction costs. The Commissioners, with the recommendation from Public Works, decided to focus the funding and permitting efforts on getting a bridge constructed as soon as possible. County staff have indicated their goal is to have the bridge completed by the end of February if at all possible. A bridge can be constructed for approximately $500,000 according to Public Works. The engineering firm, Prebble- Rish, has apparently already done some engineering as replacing all of the remaining lake culverts with a bridge is already on the County's NRDA project list. Although funding for NRDA and The Restore Act will come at some point in the future, the current situation requires a more immediate response. A funding source from reserves was discussed at the meeting. Any work at the site will require both state and federal permits. At the meeting, the County Environmental Department manager indicated the state permits could probably be expedited but he did not know about the Army Corps of Engineers. Getting an ACOE permit could take 6 months. County staff was asked to push to expedite the ACOE permitting process.

Clogging of the culverts has been problematic for the few lakes that still have them. The Commissioners discussed the need to bridge all the lakes on CR 30-A to provide a more permanent solution for motorists. Additionally, from an environmental perspective the current Restore Act project list for Walton County includes placing bridges on Deer Lake, Big Redfish Lake, Little Redfish Lake and Alligator Lake to "reestablish natural hydrologic connectivity" for the lakes.

The situation seems to be somewhat fluid as more information is developed. We will keep you updated as best we can on how the County is proceeding. Also, the County Commission meeting was taped. You can see it at:

South Walton Community Council, Inc.

Alan Ficarra-President
Anita Page-Executive Director


SoWal Guide
Staff member
Nov 15, 2004
South Walton, FL
I think we should be prepared for emergencies like this that threaten safety, business, and tourism. Whether a bridge out, sinkhole, walkover collapse, etc.

This hole should be filled and patched within a week of it happening. Then a bridge or other fix can happen over time as needed. Imagine if this had happened in June...

Sounds like its not that easy. the safe, long term solution will take time.

Matt J

May 9, 2007

Has anyone considered the irony of having a protest that the county isn't working fast enough on Labor Day?


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Beach Comber
Oct 21, 2009
Just an additional note, this was not a result of a recent "extraordinary or tropical event". The culverts at Redfish have been clogged since Fourth of July weekend, if not longer. As I was told by the Public Works Department, "They hoped it would resolve itself". It didn't, and because they left the water at road level, instead of allowing it to flow to the water starved lake on the South side of the road, the next weather event (which was inevitable) overtopped the road. The culverts could have been addressed at any point in the 7 weeks between Fourth of July and the recent rain. Instead we've turned a $10K problem into a half million dollar problem. Seems like someone at the county level may have a vested interest in building a new bridge in Walton County.

Just an aside, why are the Road Closed signs not at the intersections of 83 and 283? What purpose is served by having visitors drive half way to Redfish Lake from Grayton, and then have to turn around, same at Blue Mountain Beach, visitors get half way to the Lake, then they have turn in the middle of the road, with soft shoulders. Only person who benefits is tow truck operators.
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