Gulf Islands National Seashore officials have reopened Highway 399, also known as J. Earle Bowden Road, between Pensacola Beach and Navarre Beach.
The road had been closed since early October due to damage from Hurricane Nate. The storm caused significant damage to the barrier island roads of the national seashore, officials said. Highway 399, the only direct route between Pensacola Beach and Navarre Beach, traverses the seashore’s Santa Rosa Area, which includes Opal Beach.
Immediately following the hurricane, park crews evaluated roadways and found a significant amount of sand and water on the roadway, as well as several sections of roadway which had been undermined by gulf overwashes. The Federal Highway Administration then began the contracting process to repair the roadways, with contractors prioritizing the removal of damaged asphalt, repairing sand confinement systems, and finally repaving Highway 399.
The seashore’s Fort Pickens Area has also been closed since early October due to damage to Fort Pickens Road. With work on Highway 399 completed, contractors will now shift all resources to Fort Pickens Road to ensure the area reopens next week as projected. The Opal Beach Area will also remain closed until next week as park staff finishes cleanup operations.