New Grand Lagoon Bridge Opens to Traffic

By: Meagan O'Halloran Email
By: Meagan O'Halloran Email

After more than 18-months work, state transportation officials opened part of the new $15 million dollar Grand Lagoon Bridge Friday.

Once completed, the bridge project should improve both traffic flow over the bridge, and water flow under the bridge. The old bridge created back-ups, especially during emergencies or hurricane evacuations.

"That's one of the factors that went into the decision making process, and we looked at this area, because obviously it's a bottleneck area for us" says project spokeswoman Lynn Cherry.

Bay County officials have long-wanted to replace the old bridge, but never could get funding. Then in 2009, the Obama administration's "Economic Stimulus Package" came through with $15 million dollars for the shovel-ready project. By October 1st 2009, workers were breaking-ground on the new 5-lane bridge.

"That's just the way the mechanics work in transportation. It takes a while to forecast those needs, to get those dollars secure and then the construction to actually happen" adds Cherry.

The new bridge also answers an environmental need. Some environmentalists say the wider opening between the bridge ramps improves water circulation in Grand Lagoon, helping flush out sediments.

"It's been blocked up since 1952 when the causeway was put in. The widening, we believe, is going to help all the way around" says Ken Karr, President of the 'Friends of Grand Lagoon' non-profit group.

Drivers should expect some minor delays Friday. Authorities say they expect the entire bridge to open in July.

You must be logged in to post comments.

Password (case sensitive):
Remember Me:

Read Comments

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Ray Location: PCB on May 19, 2011 at 05:43 PM
    This is a boon doggle for the people who live on North lagoon. They can now get bigger boats through to their docs. There has never been a trafic delay caused by the old bridge in my 25 years here, it was the trafic light on the Anderson side that was added. They should have finished the Thomas drive flyover with that money. Waste!
  • by Starr Location: pcb on May 19, 2011 at 04:40 PM
    Too bad it wasn't finshed 7 weeks ago. My 40th anniversary white Mustang might Not have been totaled by a lousy driver without Libility Ins. but thank you to the many workers who built it. It will be nice place to walk to again.
  • by Richard Krauth Location: Panama City on May 19, 2011 at 04:33 PM
    Wow 15 million in Obama money for the new grand lagoon bridge. I thought this county was run by republicans. I can't understand how you republicans who hate Obama's Stimulous would accept this money for a new bridge. Can you say "Hypocrisy"? Maybe when the grand ribbon cutting ceremonies happens we will see the bay patriots out protesting.
8195 Front Beach Road Panama City Beach, FL 32407 Station: 850-234-7777 News: 850-230-5221 Fax: 850-233-6647
Copyright © 2002-2016 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 122262054 -
Gray Television, Inc.