PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Bay County is no Atlanta, but it has its share of traffic issues.
The largest problem is a symptom of the county’s success in tourism.
“I think our biggest challenge currently would be Back Beach Road,” said Keith Bryant, Bay County’s Chief Infrastructure Officer.
Each summer the roadway slows to a crawl as tourists and residents try to get to the beach, restaurants, and shopping destinations. The four-lane highway is built to handle 45 thousand cars each day. But Bryant says that number rises to as many as 80-thousand during the summer months.
“That corridor around Pier Park is still very congested, I still think that’s the heart of the problem area,” Bryant said.
State, County, and Panama City Beach traffic experts are working to expand the road to six lanes and add more connector roads.
The next biggest issue is known to locals as ‘malfunction junction.’ It’s the intersection where Harrison Avenue, Highway 231, and US 98 all meet.
“You have too much occurring in a small area that’s why the only solution to that is a flyover,” Bryant said. “And that’s what the DOT (Florida Department of Transportation) has planned.”
And finally, the intersections of Star Avenue, John Pitts Road, and Highway 231 frequently present issues.
“It’s kind of the strangest intersection I’ve seen,” Bryant said. “It’s your turn to go, and then it’s my turn to go and it’s just something that’s evolved over time how the intersection operates.”
Traffic officials plan to realign the roadway to hopefully improve traffic flow.