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Contact: Brent Everitt, 850-934-2600
Gulf Islands National Seashore has reopened Highway 399 (J. Earle Bowden Road), the road between Pensacola Beach and Navarre Beach through the Santa Rosa Area as of 10:30 am today, Wednesday, November 22. The road was closed on October 6 ahead of Hurricane Nate making landfall on the Gulf Coast. The hurricane caused significant damage to park roads in Florida and dock damage in Mississippi.
Immediately following the storm clearing the area, park crews evaluated park roads finding a significant amount of sand and water on the roadway and several portions undermined by gulf over washes. Following a formal evaluation by engineers, the Federal Highways Administration immediately began the contracting process to repair the roadways. While working on both roads, contractors prioritized removing damaged asphalt, repairing sand confinement systems, and finally repaving Highway 399 as an evacuation route for local communities.
The Opal Beach area will remain closed until next week allowing staff to clean up storm preparations. Contractors will shift all resources to the Fort Pickens Road to ensure the area reopens next week as projected. Until repairs are completed, the Fort Pickens Area remains closed.
About Gulf Islands National Seashore: Created in 1971, the national seashore stretches 160 miles along the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida and Mississippi, and includes barrier islands, maritime forests, historic forts, bayous, and marine habitat. Visit us at www.nps.gov/guis, on Facebook www.facebook.com/GulfIslandsNPS, Twitter www.twitter.com/GulfIslandsNPS, and Instagram www.Instagram.com/GulfIslandsNPS.
About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 417 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at www.nps.gov, on Facebook www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice and Twitter www.twitter.com/natlparkservice.