The new Walmart store on Back Beach Road will give shoppers another convenient option, but it will also open the door to more development in that area.
Mario Gisbert, Panama City Beach city manager, said it will also require a lot of traffic changes, and should lead to long-term infrastructure improvements.
Recently, authorities dropped the speed limit around Pier Park to 45 miles an hour.
It is part of the overall plan for a series of new traffic lights that will be installed to accommodate the heavy traffic expected once the new Walmart store opens.
"There will also be a traffic light on Back Beach Road and Powell Adams,” said Gisbert. “Also, at the intersection where the entrance to Target and Walmart is."
Gisbert said that the new lights will help create efficient traffic flow, but traffic lights are only the beginning.
City officials are using community redevelopment area money to improve part of Powell Adams Drive, similar to Richard Jackson Boulevard.
"Two lanes going south bound, two lanes going north bound. From Back Beach Road to LC Hilton Blvd,” said Gisbert. “We're only building the first half of the road. The second half of the road will come if there's a development on the south half of the intersection."
And most believe there will be development.
In order for Walmart to receive water and sewer, the city has to run the lines to the site from the east, that means several large tracts of undeveloped property will soon be accessible to those utilities.
The city is hoping to have all of the improvements completed by next spring, when the new Walmart is scheduled to open.