PANAMA CITY -- Demolition crews are continuing to clear the way for the new 23rd Street Flyover project. They're tearing down the buildings they've already bought. Business owners in the area are counting the days.
Los Antojitos is one of the area's oldest and most popular Mexican restaurants. Restaurant owner Mynta Harbison is preparing for the day she'll have to close the doors.
"We definitely have mixed emotions because we've owned this restaurant for 13 years or I’d like to say it's owned us for 13 years but it's been here for 38 years,” said Harbison.
Los Antojitos is just one of the businesses on West Highway 98 standing in the way of what many consider to be progress.
The Florida Department of Transportation is buying the businesses on West 23rd Street and tearing them down. Work is still ongoing for the 23rd Street Flyover and crews say they're not done yet.
"Some of them you may have seen as you're traveling down US 98 have already been demolished. They're not there anymore. That's all part of our bigger project. We have a lot of traffic that's in that area and as many people know here in the area on 23rd Street as you're waiting for that light to get onto 98 whether you're heading east or west traffic can back up especially during the peak periods," FL Dept. of Transportation Spokesman Ian Satter said.
The elevated flyover will replace the intersection and traffic lights, carrying drivers quickly over the railroad tracks at Port Panama City.
The businesses that were located here will be a memory. Unlike most of the others, Harbison plans to create some new memories in a new Los Antojitos on Beck Avenue.
“We will be down for a little while but you know we hope everybody, it will make them miss us even more and they'll be super eager for us to reopen,” said Harbison.
The actual flyover construction will begin in the summer of 2015 and will take about 4 years to complete.