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The Bay County Emergency Operations Center, in accordance with a request from the City of Mexico Beach, has initiated a series of enhanced checkpoints limiting traffic into Mexico Beach beginning at 6 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 23.
Traffic is limited at the eastbound base of the DuPont Bridge on U.S. 98 in Parker; at the western city limit of Mexico Beach on U.S. 98 in Bay County; at the eastern city limit of Mexico Beach on U.S. 98 at the Gulf County line; and at County 386 in the area of 15th Street; north of the City of Mexico Beach.
At the DuPont Bridge, traffic local to Tyndall Air Force Base will be directed to the right lane. Vehicles en route to Mexico Beach are directed to the left lane and must be properly authorized. Access to Mexico Beach will be limited to credentialed residents, property owners, insurance adjusters, city contractors, approved volunteer teams and charities, and federal, state, and local recovery officials.
Drivers to and from Gulf County should take State 22 to State 71 South into Gulf County.
The following message from the City of Mexico Beach outlines the credentialing process for people traveling to the city:
Beginning Oct. 23 Mexico Beach will implement a strict credential system to control the number and types of vehicles and people in Mexico Beach. The City will only be open to the following:
● Residents, Property Owners and Property Management Companies: You must have evidence of property ownership or residency (driver’s license, deed, utility bill, etc.) to get your credentials. The City will provide you with a pass for your vehicle and a wristband that should be worn while in Mexico Beach. If you are already in the city, you can get a wristband and vehicle permit at City Hall beginning Tuesday, Oct. 23 in the afternoon.
● Insurance Adjusters: Insurance adjusters must have a copy of their state-issued license, evidence of the company they work for and the specific appointment they are going to. Insurance adjusters will be given a single day pass.
● Debris haulers who are part of the team contracted through the City of Mexico Beach: No other debris haulers will be credentialed or admitted. Credentials will be provided to the main contractor.
● Credentialed volunteer teams and charities who have been approved to be in Mexico Beach: Credentials will be provided by the Volunteer Coordinator.
● Federal, state and local credentialed recovery officials: You will need to show evidence of your credentials but you will not need a specific Mexico Beach credential.
Anyone other than those in these approved groups WILL BE TURNED AWAY at the checkpoints. To facilitate rapid restoration, the entrance to Mexico Beach at Highway 98 and CR 386 checkpoint will only be accessible for Duke Energy and city-contracted debris haulers at this time. We will be closely monitoring the traffic and access, and as soon as we feel it is safe to allow additional access, we will open it up.
Panama City Beach Public Information Officer Debbie Ward can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (850) 233-5100.