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Bridge Traffic

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
26 posts
Bridge Traffic

Hi everyone -

I've been reading past posts about the saturday traffic on the bridges to best plan for our arrival. Here are the details....We are driving from Chicago to Destin March 24. On the 24th, we plan to stay in Nashville for the night and drive the rest of the way on Saturday to Destin.

There are two bridges I see on the map. Mid Day and the 331. What are the differences and pros and cons of each of them? How many lanes? Which ones have sunpass?

If we stay in Nashville, this will mean we will arrive in the dreaded traffic I keep hearing about. What bridge has the traffic?

I'm considering changing our location to Huntsville for the night.

Are there other routes to get to Destin that I am missing?

TIA!

Destin, FL
Destination Expert
for Destin
Level Contributor
3,201 posts
7 reviews
1. Re: Bridge Traffic

Kristy, which bridge to take primarily depends on your ultimate destination in the area. If staying on 30A somewhere, I would take the 331 bridge. If staying in Destin or Sandestin, take the Mid-Bay Bridge. The Mid-Bay is the toll-bridge with Sunpass. The 331 bridge is now 2 lanes in either direction, but there is still construction in the miles north of the bridge .

All of this being said, I really do not think that bridge traffic will be a problem on the weekend you are talking about. The following weekend could be a little worse, but this is not typically a problem until busy Summer Saturdays.

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
26 posts
2. Re: Bridge Traffic

Good to know! I was expecting the worse. We are staying west of the Mid Day bridge at the Jade East condos. The Mid day bridge allows for those without a sunpass to use the bridge right? We will get billed off our license plate?

Destin, FL
Destination Expert
for Destin
Level Contributor
3,201 posts
7 reviews
3. Re: Bridge Traffic

The connector (Spence Parkway) portion is Toll-by-Plate, but the actual bridge is Cash or SunPass.

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
26 posts
4. Re: Bridge Traffic

This is part of my confusion. What is the connector? I just looked at the Google map and see it is at the entrance of the mid day bridge? Who takes the connector and is this a route I should look into?

Destin, FL
Destination Expert
for Destin
Level Contributor
3,201 posts
7 reviews
5. Re: Bridge Traffic

If you are coming south on Hwy 85 into Niceville, you can take the connector to skip the stoplights and traffic in Niceville.... If you will search this forum, there are numerous other threads about the Mid-Bay Bridge, Connector, etc... If this doesn't help.

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
26 posts
6. Re: Bridge Traffic

Thank you! I did read them all prior to posting and I was very confused. You helped the most! So thank you very much for your replies! This is our first visit to Destin so I"m sure once we experience it all we will understand.

Tennessee
Level Contributor
2,563 posts
9 reviews
7. Re: Bridge Traffic

If you take both the Connector and the Mid Bay bridge without a Sunpass, you will stop and pay a toll at the Mid Bay Bridge. When you get home, you will receive a bill for the Connector in 4 - 6 weeks as it doesn't have a toll booth. That bill will include the toll and an admin fee.

Hilton Head, South...
Destination Expert
for Hilton Head
Level Contributor
1,544 posts
228 reviews
8. Re: Bridge Traffic

On your first leg consider getting just south of Nashville and stay in Franklin. They have every hotel chain, lots of eateries, are right off 65 and a nice price break from the city. We live about 4 hours to your north, so we drive the 11 hours to get to Franklin, and it's nice that 2nd day to have a relatively short hop into Destin. I only go into Destin through Niceville no matter where we stay because we do our shopping there before checking in. I agree traffic shouldn't be awful and March Madness will be in full swing that week which is a blast. It's one of the best times to be down there IMO. Have Fun.

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
26 posts
9. Re: Bridge Traffic

We do have reservations in Franklin for the night already. Completely agree with you that prices (points!) were better in Franklin. Where do you shop at?

Hilton Head, South...
Destination Expert
for Hilton Head
Level Contributor
1,544 posts
228 reviews
10. Re: Bridge Traffic

Shopping, assume you mean in Niceville? Most times the Walmart which is a superstore or Publix. There is a Publix in Fort Walton Beach, but that's always is more crowded. You will be shocked how much cheaper food is compared to the upper Midwest, even Wisconsin commodities like milk and cheese. You can pull up the weekly ads online.