It may be years away from actual construction, but the Florida Department of Transportation is getting a head start on laying the foundation for the 2nd Hathaway bridge flyover. The are looking to area businesses to cooperate in making the project a reality.
Cranes and forklifts can be seen from your car window as you travel down Highway 98, as FDOT looks to clear the path.
"People could probably see at this point we purchased some of the property south of 15th street...we've begun demolition of some of that property," said FDOT spokesman Ian Satter.
Meaning there's no vacancy at the Classic Inn, all of this in anticipation of a 2nd Hathaway bridge flyover.
"We're trying to determine the funding, the total funding for that particular project," Satter said. "We do have funding set aside for right-away acquisition."
The properties FDOT is looking to acquire stretches from the Los Antojitos restaurant all the way to the bridge, including parts of Port Panama City.
"We've been in talks with the county regarding the port, we've been in negotiation with them to acquire property," Satter said.
When completed, the fly over could ease congestion for drivers.
"You'd have seamless transition of traffic from 23rd street on to 98 over the bridge, and the traffic coming across the bridge on 98 would also bypass the train tracks," Satter said.
Sgt. Jon Morris with the Panama City Police Department says it would ease the stress on the traffic safety unit.
"We do have a lot of traffic crashes that occur in there, and it's just because maybe it can seem unusual to out of towners or there's a high volume of traffic," Sgt. Morris said.
During it's busiest hours, 23rd street and Highway 98 can get bumper to bumper. Sgt. Morris says the intersection where the two roads meet can be the most dangerous.
"You're looking at pretty much a crossing of Highway 98 - east and west - and 23rd street, which are the biggest arteries in Panama City pretty much that are all converging in one spot," Sgt. Morris.
However, if you're hoping for a quick fix to your traffic problems, FDOT says you might be waiting a while. Construction is still a few years down the line.
News 13 spoke to some of those properties along the stretch of road, including Los Antojitos and those various motels. They say FDOT has approached them about acquiring their property, but most said they're still trying to decide what to do.