Paving the way to the future; Tyndall Flyover Project

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Zachary Nordheim
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Beginning in January 2016, the Florida Department of Transportation, in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration and the U.S. Department of Defense, developed a plan to construct new overpasses and an intersection on U.S. Highway 98 to improve the on and off-base flow of Tyndall Air Force Base.

Stretching over a mile in length, the Tyndall Flyover Project has a budget of $21.9 million. The plan is to include two flyovers to mitigate vehicle congestion and add a larger intersection that allows installation traffic to free flow under the overpass without exiting the base.

“When completed, traffic to/from the main gate entrance will connect to U.S. 98 using new on-and off-ramps,” said Lindsey Harrell, FDOT district three public information specialist. “U.S. 98 through-traffic will pass over the U.S. 98/Tyndall Drive-Airey Avenue intersection without the need to stop at a traffic signal.”

Harrell added that as traffic continues towards Mexico Beach, commuters on U.S. 98 traffic will pass above the Louisiana Avenue intersection. Traffic will travel above this location with elevated lanes which will allow for the re-opening of Louisiana Avenue as a seamless connection between the flightline and administrative sides of the base. With this road re-opened, Tyndall members will be able travel quicker and avoid Highway 98 completely.

As of today, the Tyndall Flyover Project is approximately 80 percent complete and is estimated to be finished winter 2023. Additionally, all construction is being built to Miami-Dade hurricane standards and is set to be able to sustain winds up to 165 mph and up to a Category 5 hurricane.

“The Tyndall flyover project was intended to start construction before Hurricane Michael,” said Kevin Sharkey, 325th Civil Engineer Squadron portfolio optimization chief. “Surveys showed that the locations required massive repair which caused significant delays to work. Then we had COVID-19 which made it difficult to maintain employees, materials and work with shutdowns.”

Harrell explained that the Category 5 hurricane devastated much of the installation’s infrastructure and the relocation of adjacent above and underground utilities. The COVID-19 pandemic brought periodic manpower shortages and supply-chain difficulties that had to be overcome by the project team.

“Overall, this project will end up benefiting the local community as they’re travelling,” stated Sharkey “It will help Tyndall members with their access to base as we will also have free access from the support side to the flight line side without exiting the base’s secured perimeter.”

Despite the setbacks of natural disasters and global pandemics, Team Tyndall remains resilient and continues to strengthen its bonds with the local community.

“This construction project is a collaborative effort and is intended to improve base mobility and operational security,” stated Harrell. “These will be factors of increased importance as Tyndall AFB continues toward its goal of recovering from Hurricane Michael and becoming the USAF’s ‘Installation of the Future.’”