Improving traffic flow in Panama City Beach

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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — State Road 79 between Back Beach and Front Beach Road is now called South Arnold Road since city officials took it off the state’s hands.

That area, around what is locally known as “The Y,” is going to be under construction for up to two years.

The Community Redevelopment Agency has a $28 million plan to improve traffic flow.

“What we’re doing to 79 is we’re adding two additional travel lanes,” Community Redevelopment Agency Manager David Campbell said. “We’re adding wide sidewalks, 8-12 feet wide sidewalks, landscaping, and street lighting.”

Campbell said they’re also going to landscape a median to divide the roadways.

But with some streets being too narrow, they’ve had to decide how they’re going to fit these wide sidewalks and add extra lanes.

“In some areas, we only have a 66 foot right of way. It gets really tight in those locations. In some of those locations, we’re having to look at purchasing an additional property,” Campbell said. “Maybe five extra feet on each side or something.”

Front Beach Road will still be two lanes of traffic, but the city is adding a bicycle lane and a lane for the trams.

Campbell said the object is to encourage people to ride their bikes, to feel safe walking on the sidewalks, and to take public transportation– all things that will help eliminate traffic.

Once this portion of the area is completed, there is still a lot of work to do.

“We’re hoping to get Front Beach Road completed from State Road 79, South Arnold, to Richard Jackson in the next six to seven years, so we’re working in that direction,” Campbell said.

In the meantime, city officials are asking for your patience and support.

They also said the improved roads will be worth the wait.

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