PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Drivers traveling eastbound on Front Beach Road are now being diverted through part of a traffic circle.

The change is part of a larger construction project to help traffic flow more smoothly down the usually busy section of roadway. 

Prior to these changes, the intersection consisted of three two-way intersections.

“You had three stops on each leg of the triangle,” The Corradio Group Assistant Program Manager Scott Passmore said. “So, it was a little more difficult to have continuous flow traffic…The roundabout provides several operational and safety improvements. So, any time that you have a stop condition or a traffic signal, you increase the potential for accidents. Roundabouts have been proven to be a safer alternative. They also reduce traffic congestion by eliminating stop movement.”

Once completed, the roundabout will have designated lanes for vehicles to merge on and off Front Beach and Arnold Road.

Along with the addition of the roundabout, crews have also moved electric and communication wires underground in an effort to make Front Beach more resilient to storms like Hurricane Michael.

“The road surface is kind of the frosting on the cake,” Passmore said. “Everything underground is the hard part. So we are now working through those challenges and moving the project forward.”

To reduce traffic disruption, construction is taking place in phases.

Passmore said residents will see the westbound lanes of the roundabout opening in the next phase.