Palm Bay drivers hope for relief with new road project



BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - A project that could bring big relief to drivers in southern Brevard County took a major step forward Tuesday.

Living in Palm Bay, Michelle Hengy knows what it's like to hit a traffic jam on Interstate 95, Babcock Street, or Wickham Road. She said she would support long-held plans for a parkway that would eventually loop around I-95 north of U.S. 192 and south of Grant Road.

"If it can provide access to the traffic in and out of Palm Bay," said Hengy. "This area is growing fast."

The beltway received a much-needed boost Tuesday when Brevard County commissioners voted to accept $3.1 million in federal funding, which will be used for right-of-way acquisitions for the southern portion of its $23 million parkway project.

"Now that we have $3 million that's freed up directly for right-of-way acquisition, that gives us $3 million to apply towards construction, which speeds the project up considerably," said Brevard County Commissioner Andy Anderson.

The city of Palm Bay has already started construction on its portion of the parkway, and the county hopes to begin its construction this year. But, first the county will need to come up with another $3 million.

"That's striking distance. We may be able to get there this year," said John Denninghoff, public works director for Brevard County.

Anderson said he has asked the state for assistance in building the northern part of the parkway.