Several people who travel the Hathaway bridge to work and school daily have expressed concern about the possible delays. Those delays are also being taken into account by delivery companies and other businesses.
Weather permitting, Department of Transportation officials say the barricades closing the westbound side of the Hathaway bridge will go up around 10p.m. Tuesday. The bridge will remain closed until at least the beginning of March so crews can repair a defective joint where concrete is chipping. Commuters and businesses are preparing.
"The biggest thing is we'll add an extra route to the beach in the afternoons when it gets closer to summer just to ensure all the freight gets back on time and earlier. Morning time is no impact for us whatsoever. We'll still deliver great customer service," said FedEx Operations Manager, Charles Marshall.
While FedEx has added an extra route, Sam’s Club officials say their delivery trucks will completely re-route.
"Our merchandise comes from Hattiesburg, Mississippi so it'll come down and go 388 instead of coming across the beach. So it'll add a little bit of time but not a lot so we should be okay from that standpoint," said Roger Lissenden, a Manager at Sam’s Club in Panama City.
Lissenden is optimistic his delivery trucks will still make it on time but he is concerned about the closure going into spring break time.
"We depend on the beach for a lot of business. And with traffic backed up both ways, how many people want to come across it, to go back through it? So there's a potential for some loss in sales in March and February, Apri,” said Lissenden..
The westbound traffic on 98 will bottleneck onto the eastbound side of the bridge. There will be two narrower lanes going in each direction, as well as a narrow median for emergency crews.