Thomas Drive Elevated Roadway

By: Candace White
By: Candace White

Bay County keeps growing and people continue to pour in, and this definitely leads to traffic problems along the way, but there may be relief in sight.

It's pretty much open and quiet on the flyover, but down below us traffic continues to be a problem for now. Bumper to bumper traffic around the Hathaway Bridge will soon be coming to an end.

The elevated roadway project at Thomas Drive and Highway 98 will be opening up next week.

Tommy Speights of the Dept. of Transportation said, "All your traffic that's coming from Front Beach and Back Beach Road will use what we're standing on now."

Weather permitting, the Department of Transportation says the overpass will open Tuesday. We're told the lanes will probably open at night when traffic isn't as heavy.

Thomas Drive will use the ground level lanes only and merge at the Hathaway Bridge.

Jackie Hawksley said, "I'm curious to see what the disaster’s gonna be when all that ends on the other side of the bridge."

“Right now, that will still be a bottleneck. Of course, we have a future project for 23rd Street upcoming to improve that intersection."

Angela Stockwell added, “People just have to keep their eyes open when they start this new opening with this new roadway."

This project is a bit off schedule thanks to two hurricanes blowing things around.

"We had a problem getting the materials after the hurricane hit. We had to get some materials out of MS and New Orleans, and that hampered production."

The westbound lanes of Back Beach Road will remain the same for now.

"We have some future projects upcoming. It's not funded at this time. That will also see an elevated westbound roadway and flyover to Thomas Drive."

If this all sounds confusing to you, don't worry. The Department of Transportation is putting a two-page map in the middle of Sunday's News Herald to make sure everyone knows how to get where they're going.

You can get more information and even check on the flyover progress at ThomasDrive98.com.


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