Traffic Improves to Steady Flow

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The traffic is not nearly as bad as it was Wednesday, but drivers and even some local businesses are still frustrated about the lane changes and ensuing traffic jam.

Transportation officials say this is just the beginning of the construction work, so drivers should take steps to lessen the blow.

“Maybe we should alter our driving habits. Come a little early. Don’t drive during rush hour. Please do that for us, would you?” Flyover project Spokesman, Gary Bellamy, says.

But most drivers say that’s impossible.

“Well, there’s no way to avoid it because I live on the beach and go to school at Gulf Coast.”

“I live on the beach and I work here, so it’s impossible.”

It’s those drivers who are changing their driving habits that has one local businesswoman worried.

“People were anticipating traffic delays. I think they tried to avoid this area altogether. It resulted in one of our slowest Thursdays in quite a while,” says Mynta Harbison, owner of Tony’s Los Antojitos.

And Harbison wasn’t alone.

The Subway on Front Beach Road had about 20-percent less customers than usual Thursday.

“They did it at a bad time. It’s hard for the customers to get to the store,” says Subway manager, Halima Taziny.

At least one business owner is using the lane change to his advantage.

“It have me a corner lot, and since everybody’s got to stop to make a left turn, we’re going to have a sidewalk sale to keep them entertained while they wait,” Village Interiors owner, Bill Whitestone, says.

Eastbound traffic headed towards Panama City will be shifted to two northern temporary lanes next week. Bellamy says the transition shouldn't be as bad as Wednesday's because they can keep both lanes on the Hathaway Bridge open.