Westbound portion of Panama City 23rd Street Flyover to open on Friday

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG) --' For years the intersection of U.S. 98 and 23rd Street has been a traffic nightmare for many drivers.

The 23rd Street flyover will open the westbound portion on Friday. (WJHG/WECP)

"You had traffic stopping, obviously at the intersection, it was hard to get traffic to move through that area," said Florida Department of Transportation Spokesperson Ian Satter.

But now, the drive should be less of a headache.

Starting Friday, drivers heading westbound toward Panama City Beach from 15th Street will be able to use the 23rd Street Flyover and then on to the Hathaway Bridge.

Satter said, "So you're gonna have a lot of movement, freer flowing, less congestion, less chances for crashes to occur at this intersection."

Drivers going south on 23rd Street will also take the flyover to get to the beach, meaning drivers heading west will have no red lights from Michigan Avenue in Panama City to Woodlawn Drive in Panama City Beach.

"Eastbound U.S. 98 will continue to be on temporary 98 as they head east as well as accessing 23rd Street," said Satter.

However, traffic might slow down going east.

"Eastbound traffic will still have to experience the possibility of having to stop for the train," said Satter. "The intersection at Collegiate Avenue, the light there will also be active."

Over the weekend, crews will work on transitions from 23rd Street to U.S. 98 eastbound. They will also work on re-striping the roads. That should be finished by Sunday.

"It's gonna make your commute much quicker in the morning and in the afternoon," said Satter.

There's still more work to be done on the eastbound portion of the project, but transportation officials say opening the westbound portion of the flyover is a huge milestone.

This $68 million project should wrap up around Spring 2020.

Read the original version of this article at wjhg.com.

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