News Room

TeCMEN Committee to Host Industry Day - 08/16/2017

Special to the Daily News FORT WALTON BEACH — In an effort to spotlight the diverse capabilities that exist among the area’s technical businesses, the Economic Develop...

Building For The Future - 07/10/2017

Building For The Future Looking beyond beaches and the military to boost economic development BY LINDA KLEINDIENST ~ Article written by 850 Magazine   Okaloosa and Walton countie...

Air | Highways & Rail | Water Ports | Florida LambdaRail | Transportation | Service Companies

Okaloosa County enjoys the benefits of a sophisticated multi-modal transportation network. The county's highway, rail, air, and water transportation systems provide a complete network of competitively-priced shipping options.

The ability to combine so many different methods of transportation provides Okaloosa's business community with cost-effective shipping alternatives as well as local, state, and national transportation needs.
Local authorities, to include Eglin AFB, are continuously observing transportation needs and requirements and evaluating possible infrastructure improvements and expansions.

Okaloosa County offers a public transportation service, Okaloosa County Transit (OCT). The OCT offers bus and trolley transportation services for Fort Walton Beach, Crestview, Okaloosa Island, and Destin/South Walton.
Okaloosa County and Eglin AFB has planned major infrastructure improvements across the county. 

Air Service

Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport

1701 State Road 85 N, Eglin AFB, FL 32542 | Driving Directions
The Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (formerly known as the Northwest Florida Regional Airport), centrally located in the heart of Okaloosa County, provides commercial transportation for the Gulf Coast region. Highway access to the 110,000 SF terminal and other facilities is provided by State Route 85, a north-south main thoroughfare.

The airport features:
  • On-Site Ground Transportation to service customers
  • The services of Allegiant, American Airlines, Contour Airlines, Delta Airlines, GLO, United Airlines ensure flexible travel routes which serve approximately 800,000 passengers each year with direct service to Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Bowling Green, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Knoxville, Las Vegas, Little Rock, Louisville, Memphis,  New Orleans, New York City/Newark, Oklahoma City, Peoria,  Pittsburgh,  Springfield/Branson,  St. Louis / Belleville and Washington DC.
    Modern Amenities: Wi-Fi, free curbside assistance, ample parking, and complimentary shuttle service
  • The Airport has expanded its terminal to include a cargo facility and relocating its rental operation to better serve its customers
Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport is an outstanding example of efficiency and joint use partnership with the United States Air Force resulting in lower operating costs.
The regional airport utilizes two Eglin AFB runways:
  • 10,000 feet long and 300 feet wide
  • 12,000 feet long and 300 feet wide
These runways are the only ones in Northwest Florida capable of non-stop international operations to Europe. The access taxiway measures 1,600 feet long and 50 feet wide.

Destin Executive Airport (DTS)
1001 Airport Road, Destin, FL 32541
The Destin Executive Airport (DTS) located at the south end of Okaloosa County is a community airport that serves general aviation. With a 5,000 foot runway, full service amenities, and close proximity to "the south's most beautiful beaches", Destin Executive Airport (DTS) is an essential transportation resource. Our two fixed base operators offer comfortable first class facilities for travelers and pilots alike. 

Bob Sikes Airport (CEW)

5551 Givens Road, Crestview, FL 32539
The Bob Sikes Airport, located at the Okaloosa County Industrial Airpark, is owned and operated by Okaloosa County. The Bob Sikes Airport offers an 8,000 foot runway with ILS. It is primarily utilized for industrial application with general aviation facilities. A 64,000 square foot hanger is on location for aircraft modifications along with taxiways.

Highways & Rail Service

East-West Interstate 10 provides direct access to important regional and national markets intersecting major north-south interstates I-65, I-75 and I-95. US 90 runs parallel to the CSX Rail Transportation System that connects users to all regions of the country.

Industrially-zoned land is available along I-10 and US 90 for commercial and industrial customers seeking strategic distribution locations. Highway 98 is a main thoroughfare running along the coast from west Alabama connecting Pensacola, Fort Walton Beach, Panama City, Port St. Joe, Apalachicola and then north to Tallahassee. Highway 20, parallel to I-10, also connects Tallahassee to central Okaloosa County.

Water Ports

Okaloosa County is centrally located between two deep water ports; the Port of Pensacola and the Port of Panama City. It is also a thoroughfare for the Intercostal waterway.

Port of Pensacola & Foreign Trade Zone #249

The Port of Pensacola is 40 miles from the Okaloosa County, accessible via the Intracoastal Waterway and the Gulf of Mexico. Its channel entrance is 500' wide and is dredged to a depth of 33 feet. It is located at latitude 30 degrees, 24 minutes north', longitude 87 degrees, 13 minutes west (11 miles from sea buoy). The port is comprised of 50 acres and offers an array of infrastructure and services for domestic and international markets.

Port of Panama City & Foreign Trade Zone #65

The Port Panama City is 55 miles from Okaloosa County and is accessible via the Intracoastal Waterway and the Gulf of Mexico. The channel offers a depth of 36 feet. The port's main commodities are forestry, steel and copper products. The Port offers six deepwater berths consisting of 3,240 linear feet, with 32 foot draft, 600 linear feet of barge facilities, and 470,000 square feet of warehousing space. Other amenities include cargo handling areas, expanded warehouses, high mast lighting and a mobile harbor crane.

Florida Lambdarail

Florida LambdaRail (FLR) is the beginning of the communication network for the future; a file that was previously too large to email will be a drop in the ocean with the LambdaRail system. The Florida LambdaRail, LLC (FLR) was created to facilitate advanced research, education, and economic development activities in the State of Florida, utilizing next generation network technologies, protocols, and services.

In 2008, the EDC initiated a partnership with the University of West Florida, Okaloosa County and the State of Florida to provide FLR to Okaloosa County educational and research institutions to include Eglin Air Force Base.
The EDC served as the management lead to oversee the Emerald Coast Advanced Research Network (ECARN) project team consisting of the EDC, University of West Florida and Okaloosa County for the implementation of plan-of-action, methodology and timeline for the Eglin Air Force Base and Fort Walton Beach FLR loop project. The EDC was the receipient of two state grants which funded the installation of the FLR system into Okaloosa County. The University of West Florida performed as the technical coordinator for the FLR backbone requirements based on the statewide fiber optic network infrastructure charter. Okaloosa County’s Information Systems Department monitored the physical work for the connectivity of the EAFB FWB FLR connectivity loop.
This project linked in to the existing Florida Lambda Rail fiber network just east of the City of Crestview and extends south into the Shalimar and Fort Walton Beach area connecting four educational institutions to include the location of the future Emerald Coast Technology & Research Center on UF’s REEF campus.
The FLR is complementary to the National LambdaRail (NLR) initiative, a national high-speed research network initiative for research universities and technology companies. The FLR provides opportunities for Florida university faculty members, researchers, and students to collaborate with colleagues around the world on leading edge research projects. The FLR also supports the State of Florida’s economic development and high-tech aspirations. The NLR connects into Florida in Pensacola and Jacksonville.

What is LambdaRail?

  • Ultra-high performance bandwidth and capability making many of the world’s most demanding research projects possible.
  • The National LambdaRail (NLR) is a 15,000+ mile fiber optic infrastructure network for delivering data/communication.
  • Owned and operated by U.S. universities and university consortia, NLR is an innovation platform for academia and public-private partnerships.
  • Purpose is to serve education, research, and economic development efforts.
  • Two U.S. levels: A national backbone network, which links to regional/state networks; i.e. Florida LambdaRail.

Florida LambdaRail – Key Benefits

  • State universities’ network connected to NLR and international connections.
  • Direct linkages between regional educational networks.
  • Capability to construct special-purpose networks for specific needs using lambdas – down to the level of individual projects/events.
  • A dedicated research and education network for Florida, able to support next-generation research in various disciplines.
  • Affordable high bandwidth – for distance education delivery, access to electronic resources, and collaborative projects.
  • Support for governmental and non-profit services and regional economic development.

LambdaRail’s Strategic Importance

  • Increasingly the network is becoming the virtual laboratory and classroom and the new foundation for research collaboration, particularly in the sciences.
  • The network is also a primary transportation infrastructure driving the “new economy” of the information age.
  • LambdaRail is the global backbone for expanding that capability throughout our local service region and for providing these capabilities to our partners.
In 2008, the Okaloosa EDC had a unique opportunity to apply for state funding through Enterprise Florida to supply and expand Florida LambdaRail connectivity from its east-west Florida pathway south from Crestview to the new Emerald Coast Technology and Research Center (ECTRC). The ECTRC’s synergistic consortium design will offer opportunities for universities, the military, and the private sector to collaborate on leading edge projects in aviation and other high-technology fields, and work toward prototyping and commercialization. This will be a significant and critical asset in enhancing high-technology R&D capabilities and competitiveness to the ECTRC and Eglin AFB and Hurlburt Field.
Through the EDC’s grant’s administration and collaboration with Okaloosa County and UWF, additional connectivity points have been accomplished throughout Okaloosa County and Eglin AFB, with future connectivity into Niceville’s Emergency Operations Center.

Why FLR?

Many scientific disciplines have dramatically increased their dependence on information technology resources, requiring in some cases multi-gigabit networks and teraflops (a trillion operations per second) of computing power to transmit, process and analyze vast amounts of data stored at multiple sites. More and more academic courses are being made available online, which requires greater access to digitized library data, increased use of graphic data and multimedia files. However, the resultant networking demands are often stranded because the current network connections are not fast enough. The FLR infrastructure was designed explicitly to meet these challenges. If the Internet pipeline today were comparable to a two-lane road, the FLR network would be akin to a 32-lane interstate highway system.

Our future transmission is LambdaRail!


Federal Interstates: I-10
Federal Highways: US-90, US-98
State Highways: Route 20, Route 85
Toll Bridges: Mid-Bay Bridge and Walter Francis Spence Parkway (Managed by the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority)
Railroads: CSX Rail
Deep Water Ports: 1) Port of Pensacola & Foreign Trade Zone and 2) Port of Panama City & Foreign Trade Zone
Miles to Closest Port: 44
Nearest Airport with Scheduled Commercial Airline Service: Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport, # Runways: 2, Longest Paved Runway (ft.): 12,010

General Aviation Airports:
1) Bob Sikes Airport
2) Destin Airport

Service Companies

Okaloosa County strives to provide its communities with the public services worthy of our modern technology age.

Our public service providers are dedicated to providing safe, reliable, and cost-effective utilities to Okaloosa's small and large businesses, institutional, commercial, industrial and municipal clients.
Okaloosa's utilities companies are dedicated professionals with the expertise and integrity to deliver services designed to meet the unique processes and needs of each of their customers.
Okaloosa County and Eglin AFB are collaborating on infrastructure improvements as part of the tri-county growth management plan resulting from the 2005 BRAC Commission realignments. These improves will include a new and improved waste water treatment plant, a joint fiber optic network, a new telephone cable along Highway 98, new Cox Communications cable, and new cellular towers.

Electric Companies

CHELCO, Choctawhatchee Electric Cooperative, Inc., is one of Northwest Florida’s four consumer-owned Touchstone Energy Electric Cooperatives that share membership in the Alabama Electric Generation & Transmission Cooperative. CHELCO primarily serves Okaloosa and Walton counties. Gulf Power Company, a subsidiary of Southern Company, is one of the largest investor owned electric utilities in the United States. Gulf Power’s availability and low cost of electricity is always an important factor when decision makers are considering a relocation to the area. Gulf Power Company has the lowest rates of any investor owned utility in the state of Florida, and is among the lowest rates in the country.

Garbage Collection

Waste Management Systems is the premier waste services provider in North America. Waste Management's commitment is to customer satisfaction and long-term relationships, and to employ processes, techniques and technologies that safeguard the environment, now and in the future.
BFI Emerald Coast Division also provides curbside refuse collection for sections of Okaloosa County. Recyclable curbside collection is provided by Okaloosa County. Several independent recycling services are located throughout the county.

Gas Companies

Okaloosa Gas District provides service throughout Okaloosa and surrounding counties. This service area also includes several military installations. Natural gas has become a significant utility for many businesses and residents. The county also offers several propane gas companies.

Telephone Service

CenturyLink offers global communications through cutting-edge technology. CenturyLink is at the forefront of integrating long distance, local and wireless communications services, and one of the largest carriers of Internet traffic. As of the fall 2005, Cox Communications is also offering digital telephone service. Many long distance services are available through the local service provider. Wireless services are also widely available.

Television Service

Cox Communications, the fourth largest cable provider in the nation, is noted for its high-capacity, reliable broadband delivery network as well as the company’s ability to provide superior customer service. As of winter 2005, CenturyLink also offers television service.

Okaloosa residents also have the choice of dish and satellite service.

For more information on Okaloosa County's infrastructure click here.


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