Highway 98 Eastside Flyover

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Panama City officials are taking steps to begin another major road project involving the Highway 98 Hathaway bridge corridor.

Tuesday city commissioners will be talking about land right-of-ways to improve traffic on the east side of the bridge.

Transportation officials say the amount of traffic passing by Gulf Coast Community College is increasing daily.

Harvey Brewton, an FDOT engineer, says, "Our traffic counts from the last few months is 35,00 vehicles a day, and that number is growing every day."

So in the name of progress, the campus of college will look a little different once FDOT completes a new flyover project.

John Holdanak, GCCC VP of Administrative Services, says, "We will be flip-flopping the college front for back and the new entrance to the college will be on Collegiate Drive, which is along the back."

Phase one and the only part of the project that has been approved will move the intersection on Highway 98 and College Drive west to Moody Avenue. College officials have already started to prepare for the changes.

"We'll lose 150 off the front side of the campus, which is a lot. That's parking, and it actually turns that corner and goes down 23rd Street to the softball field."

This will lengthen the turning lanes onto 23rd Street until the final project of building a flyover from 23rd is finished.

"To make this situation work better for the city and the state, we're trying to do these preliminary projects; moving the intersection up from the college will pave the way for the next flyover project.

The first phase is not expected to start until 2008. Transportation officials say these plans are 90 percent approved.

Before the project begins, the state still has to acquire land on the south side of Highway 98.