GULF BREEZE, Fla. (WALA) - The Florida Department of Transportation plans to make changes to dangerous stretch of highway in Gulf Breeze.
The FDOT is to begin construction on a $2.5 million project that would bring thousands of street lights to U.S. 98 in Santa Rosa County.
The highway, which runs through Gulf Breeze into Okaloosa County, has been the site of several pedestrians fatally struck while crossing the road.
In less than a month, the one year anniversary of the death of Rhea Hall's friend, Deborah Rector will pass.
But for Hall, the pain of losing her friend of 15 years, never will.
"It's starting to hit me now. I know my friend is not coming back. This is what she'd want me to do to make the street as safe as possible," said Hall.
Rector, a loving grandmother, was hit and killed late at night while crossing U.S. 98 on her way home from work.
Several other people were also struck and killed around that time.
At the time, residents called for safety improvements to be made, including extra traffic lights and street lights .
In November of 2012, the Florida Department of Transportation added a traffic light near where Rector was killed.
"The DOT has been awesome. We thanked them personally. We appreciate it and we'll appreciate anything they can do for us," Hall said.
Hall said the traffic light and street lights are progress, but she wants more done.
She says more sidewalks should be next.
"We can't just stop here. We have to keep going for all the other kids and generations that will come up around here," said Hall.
Ian Satter with FDOT said the decision to add improved safety features was done with input from numerous area residents and local officials.
Officials say the first phase of the project is expected to take around 90 days. Officials hope to complete the project by the end of the summer.
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