A beautiful photo from Destin, FL

Major Highway Change for Destin-Bound Travelers

Be Aware of New Toll-by-Plate Charging System

If you are headed to the Destin area for spring break, there’s a major change in your route toll by plateto the beach. The Mid-Bay Bridge Connector opened more than one year ago, allowing travelers to bypass Niceville and avoid 14(!) traffic signals.

  • The new controlled access highway connects the north end of the Mid-Bay Bridge with SR 85 immediately north of Niceville.  The connector dramatically reduces the time required to drive from the interstate to points throughout the region.
  • But vacationers be warned – the state of Florida is using a toll-by-plate collection system on this new highway.  The toll collection method takes a photo of your vehicle’s license plate as it travels through the connector.  There’s no stopping – signs warn you to keep moving.
  • Signs also now warn that there is a monthly administrative charge of $2.50 per billing cycle. The base toll for a regular vehicle is $1.50. 
  • This toll-by-plate system upset some travelers when the connector opened last year. According to an article in the Northwest Florida Daily News, Mid-Bay Bridge Authority Executive Director Jim Vest  says the administrative charge is decreed by the Florida Turnpike System.  “It’s $2.50 a month to send you an invoice, whether you went through the toll once or 20 times,” Vest said.  
  • You can avoid the administrative charge. Drivers can create a prepaid account with toll-by-plate. For more information, go to www.tollbyplate.com .  
  • Even with the extra charge, the connector is expected to be worth it, especially on FullSizeRenderSaturdays when vacationers are oh-so-close to Destin. During busy times such as spring break and the summer months, it will cut several minutes off your travels since you are avoiding the bumper-to-bumper traffic on John Sims Parkway/SR 20 and those 14 traffic lights!
  • It’s important to note that there is still also a separate toll to cross the Destin Mid-Bay Bridge of an additional $3.  The bridge toll is paid to attendants at the bridge.

Are you traveling to Destin, FL for Spring Break? Don’t forget to check out all our resources for lodging, restaurants, and beach activities.  

Safe Travels & Happy Spring Break!

Kendra Veach

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