PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Officials decided to perform a study on widening County Road 2321.

Development around Deerpoint Lake has been heavy since Hurricane Michael, and that’s put a lot of stress on the main access road, County Road 2321, known as Deerpoint Dam Road. County officials are preparing for a day when traffic will exceed the road’s ability to handle it.   

“We received $3 million from the legislature to go ahead and do a project development environmental study. That’s really the first thing you have to do before you can widen the roadway.”

Public Works officials plan on widening the 70-year-old road from 2 lanes to 4 lanes. That will include building a new bridge over the dam because expanding the existing bridge is too dangerous. The project is in its beginning stages, and construction won’t begin for a while. 

“It takes a minimum of two years to do the study. Then I would anticipate that design would take a little over a year, possibly two years for a project of this size, and then acquisition. It’s going to take a minimum of a year or two. Construction’s going to take several years.”

Bryant says nearly 16,000 cars drive on the 2 lane road each day. That’s 3,000 more vehicles over the road’s normal usage. Planning has to start several years in advance to mitigate future hazards.  

“We have to look into the future on widening the roadway. We had conversations with the legislature, also with the Department of Transportation. They identified it as a future need.”

It’s too early to tell how much the project will cost or where funding will come from.