SR-79 widening project starts on the final segment in Washington County

WASHINGTON COUNTY  — Those traveling along State Road 79 may notice some recent changes, part of the roadway is open while another is now undergoing construction.

As road work continues on the widening of the highway, the last phase has begun.

Panama City Beach residents will have to say goodbye to the “Y”

“All of this will be four lanes from the beaches up to the interstate,” said Florida Department of Transportation Spokesperson Ian Satter.

The SR-79 widening project started back in 2014. Satter said construction was broken up into four segments.

“A little over $100 million to complete this project is an investment made by the Florida Department of Transportation in this area especially in a time when we know we will have an active hurricane season coming up,” said Satter. “Got to make sure we get this work done.”

The goal is to complete this 20 mile stretch of construction as soon as possible Satter said since the roadway is used for Hurricane emergency evacuations. 

“First thing is always going to be safety, how can we improve this roadway, how can we make it safer for the people that use it, not just motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists in the area,” he said. 

“So with this project by widening it, you have less congestion, with less congestion to me means the opportunity for crashes will go down.”

In the New Hope community, residents and travelers can expect one lane in each direction for the next few months before the entire project is finished. 

Satter said there is no set date yet for completion.