PANAMA CITY BEACH-- After more than a year of slower speeds, drivers can get back to normal on Back Beach Road. Crews have wrapped up the majority of their construction work on an 8 mile stretch of the major roadway.
In December 2012, the Florida Department of Transportation began re-surfacing the highway. During the work, the DOT lowered the speed limit to 45 miles and hour. Now, the speed limit is going back to 55, but not all at once.
"The speed limit, when we began the project along the 8 mile stretch, was brought down to 45 miles an hour. That was for the safety of the crews working, but also for the people driving though the construction zone. Now that we are wrapping up you'll see that some of the signs have changed they have gone back to their original speed limit. Some areas are 45, some areas are 55," said Ian Satter, Florida Department of Transportation spokesperson.
Officials say there will be a grace period before handing out speeding tickets, but they say that grace period wont last long. According to Florida Highway Patrol, drivers are being asked to be mindful of their speed and look around for new signs.
There are other new things drivers will notice. Satter said, "Some of the things that people will see are new sidewalks in the area. We obviously want to make this road pedestrian friendly. They'll notice a much smoother ride as they go through the area. There will be some more turn lanes that are also available at different roadways, different signals. ability for people to queue into the turn lanes."
The entire project costs more than $10 million.