Highway 79 and Front Beach Road Roundabout Project had six months “pause”

Published: Jul. 20, 2022 at 11:00 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Cones, construction, and chaos. That’s how most people would describe the past year of construction for the Highway 79 and Front Beach Road Roundabout Project.

Known to locals as the “Y,” many Panama City Beach residents are asking why construction is taking so long to see progress.

“I mean look at it. It looks like a mess. This is not something positive going on right now,” Muy Wayne O’s Manager Katherine Eastland said.

A never before seen concept in Panama City Beach left people with mixed emotions from the start.

“Good as we need it. Bad for the business as the construction goes on,” Domino’s Pizza Shift Runner Jeff Nelson said.

As construction goes on, some nearby businesses consider it a “nightmare.”

“It has been so frustrating. You know, lack of business, you Google us online and this road is closed. It’s just been very stressful,” Eastland said.

“Delivery business is hard for us as to getting in and out of this area,” Nelson said.

But city officials don’t consider this year-long “lag” in construction a “delay.” That’s because city officials put a six month “pause” on the project to change the contract.

“Which is to enhance and add additional drainage in the project particularly down toward the outfall pipe at Lullwater Drive,” CRA Manager Scott Passmore said.

Passmore said the city wanted to make sure the drainage on the roundabout was compatible with future phases to the CRA Project.

“The work was added and now we’re in the process now of getting it approved and moving forward,” Passmore said.

But moving forward after a six month pause, once again, leaves businesses with mixed emotions.

“They need to hurry up and get this project done so everybody else around it can go back to their way of normal business and their normal customers coming back down to this side of the beach,” said Eastland.

“We can sit here and complain about it, or let them do their best and get the job done,” said Nelson.

A job the city says will positively improve the quality of life for all.

Passmore said the roundabout project will add a multitude of other improvements. He said it will add a lot of pedestrian safety improvements like lighted crosswalks.

He also says the city has a vision for this roundabout to be a part of tourist development. That’s by making sure tourists and locals alike have a good time on the roads.

City officials said the project is now expected to be complete in December 2023 instead of June 2023.

However, they said they’re also working closely with these businesses to keep them updated on any changes.

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