August 25, 2023- About a year ago, the Bay County Transportation Planning Organization asked the Florida Department of Transportation to investigate building a four-lane toll road from I-10 to U.S. 98.
Florida DOT’s Turnpike Enterprise recently presented a rough proposal to the BCTPO. Three potential route options are suggested that would connect Panama City to I-10 about 20 miles east of U.S. 231. One proposal would connect near to Sneads, pass near the Apalachicola River and Ocheesee Pond, and run down the Chipola Valley. Currently there are three four-lane highways that feed into Panama City: U.S. 231, FL 79 and FL 77.
The approximately 50-mile corridor is pitched as providing an emergency-response route & increasing and easing tourist traffic to Panama City as well as commuter traffic to Tyndall Air Force Base and Port Panama City.
Construction is estimated at about $58 million a mile. The project must show that it can pay for itself through toll revenues. DOT also needs to provide reviews that show support from local communities and private-sector partnerships.