PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) – Florida Department of Transportation officials held a public forum Thursday night to allow residents to voice their opinion on a proposal to make Back Beach Road six lanes.

The $124 million widening project would be completed in three stages and stretch from Frank Brown Park all the way to the Hathaway Bridge.

FDOT officials said this has been an idea for years.

“Obviously it is a need here in the community,” FDOT Public Information Director Ian Satter said. “People have seen the congestion. When you can relieve congestion, if we can go to six lanes, we can relieve congestion, and more importantly, it’s going to improve safety and that is always going to be our number one concern.”

Panama City Beach officials support the proposal as the area continues to rapidly grow.

“This is going to help both residents and visitors,” Panama City Beach City Councilman Michael Jarmon said. “One of the things we don’t want to happen is visitors come down and they don’t want to come down anymore because they can’t get anywhere on the beach.”

Residents also expressed their support for the project.

“I think it’s very necessary,” resident Ronald Owens said. “The traffic on the road is horrendous. Going from 4 lanes to 6 lanes will help as long as they can control the speed because they fly by us like there’s no traffic signs.”

The project will begin when the funding comes through in the Spring of 2023.

If you missed Thursday’s forum, you can find all the information online here.