DOT Blames Hathaway Bridge Headaches on Weather

PANAMA CITY - Drivers trying to cross the Hathaway Bridge had to deal with lengthy traffic delays, all day long, including both the morning and evening commute.

The Florida Department of Transportation was repaving both ends of the bridge, just one step of a lengthy and expensive U.S. 98 repaving project.

The work was supposed to take place overnight on Wednesday and Thursday. But FDOT says the weather didn't cooperate.

"When you're putting down asphalt it has to be a certain temperature (before) you can't lay the asphalt,” said FDOT spokesperson Ian Satter.

The ideal temperature to lay asphalt is 68-degrees or higher. Wednesday night's average temperature was 58-degrees.

Shirles Johnson commutes from Walton County to Panama City. When she headed home Thursday, Johnson said, "I thought it was Spring Break."

Some drivers were stuck in traffic so long they nearly ran out of gas.

"I was getting worried because I didn't know how much further it was to the bridge," said Bobby Walker.

Workers completed the work about 7:45 p.m. Crews will be working on the shoulders of U.S 98 on Friday. But they say that should not affect traffic flow.