When it comes to getting right down to business, the Front Beach Road CRA (short for community redevelopment area) in Panama City Beach is cranking out the first steps in making South Thomas Drive awesome. The South Thomas Drive road, well known as a crater-ific, pitted nightmare of a road, is getting a huge shot in the arm by way of completely NEW road, widened travel path, sidewalks, beautiful landscaping and sweet street lamps. Oh, and I forgot to mention all those ugly utility lines will be moved under ground; that’s huge!
This portion of the CRA covers the South Thomas Drive corridor from the Circle K (right across from Pompanos and in between Laketown Wharf and Shores of Panama) down to the intersection close to the Boardwalk Beach Resort Condominium tower. This portion also covers the intersection of Front Beach Road, South Thomas Drive and Middle Beach Road, then on down Front Beach Road to the Circle K. For a more detailed description and a rendering of the converge area, click here.
Right now, it would seem all segments of the construction are seeing some activity including:
- Front Beach Road, Middle Beach Road, Thomas Drive intersection: the retention pond behind McDonald’s is being cleared and prepared to receive a huge hole that will be filled with water and cool recreational area with sitting, viewing and the like.
- Multi-modal Tram Station: although I don’t believe that they are actually going to be building this any time soon, I believe they are using this area as a staging area. There was tons of activity there, including large equipment coming and going.
- South Thomas Drive: Land is being cleared (and has already been cleared in some areas) on the south side of the road. Utility piping is being staged for assembly and burial and the Tram stops have been cut out and positioned.
- Retention Pond at South Thomas Drive and North Thomas Drive intersection has been cleared and tons of fill dirt has been brought in. This section will have a huge pass cut through it that will divert traffic around the back of Alvin’s Island and force cars to travel through a signalized intersection that will help ease congestion during peak seasons and keep the area overall safer to pass through.
Here are some videos I took while out, pictures are below that.