Pedestrian crosswalk adding to Back Beach Road traffic back up

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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Some Panama City Beach drivers will tell you Back Beach Road can often be a traffic nightmare.

County and state organizations say they're aware of the problem but plans to fix it may not be coming soon.

Inside the Bay County Traffic Management Center employees monitor roads across the county.

"We're working on striping projects, speeding up projects," Marc Mackey, Traffic Engineering manager with Bay County said. "We do all the signage for the county roadways as well so you know answering citizen calls and helping out where we can there."

Like some drivers, they've noticed congestion on Back Beach Road.

"Back Beach Road during the summer season sees about 80,000 cars a day but the roadway, a four-lane divided highway, is designed for less than 40,000 cars a day," Keith Bryant, Public Works Director for Bay County said.

The Florida Department of Transportation is planning to widen the roads from four lanes to six, but representatives tell us the design phase could take years to complete.

"It's kind of hard when you don't have enough asphalt along the roadway to handle that much traffic," Bryant said.

Another reason county officials say traffic backs up near Nautilus Street and Back Beach Road is that part of the sidewalk on one side of Back Beach Road ends near Nautilus, forcing pedestrians to cross at Nautilus Street.

Bryant says that intersection is used frequently. He estimates about 100 people use the crosswalk there every day.

When people press the button to cross the road it causes cars to stop so pedestrians can cross the street and in turn that backs up traffic.

"We have to let them cross but that does hurt our capacity right there," Bryant said.

FDOT's plans for Back Beach may include sidewalks along the entire stretch.

For now, county officials say they're doing their best to keep things flowing as smoothly as possible.