Three Hathaway Bridges
Hathaway Bridge was originally known as the St. Andrews Bay
Bridge. It was later named for Franz Hathaway, chairman of
Florida's State Road Department, the agency that would eventually
become the Florida Department of Transportation.
Andrews Bay Bridge was remarkable for its time, because its
approaches used a large number of Parker through-truss spans
-- 16 in total -- that were 160 to 225 feet in length and
31 to 38 feet high with a 20-foot wide roadway. (By contrast,
each of the eight lanes on the new Hathaway Bridge will be
12 feet wide). The bridge also featured a 200-foot long Warren
through-truss "swing span" that would open for shipping
traffic by pivoting on a center pier.
spans of the original bridge were left in place until the
mid 1980's. The original concrete piers were finally removed
in the mid 1990's.
By the end of the Eisenhower years, the original Hathaway
Bridge was functionally obsolete and structurally deficient.
The second Hathaway Bridge, which opened to traffic in 1960,
was more than three times wider than its predecessor and carried
double the number of lanes on a 62-foot wide bridge deck.
were an age of practicality and economy in road and bridge
design. Like other bridges of its time, Hathaway II was a
utilitarian structure with narrow shoulders and no auxiliary
lanes. An accident or a single stalled vehicle could bring
traffic to a standstill -- as happens today on many other
bridges and urban freeways built during the era.
late 1980's, the second Hathaway Bridge was becoming obsolete.
But of course, no one in 1960 could have known just how much
Florida would grow and change in the years to follow.
By the late 1990's, it became apparent that transportation
enhancements like trolleys and ferry boats would not solve
the transportation ills of the Panama City area. Proposals
to attach a bicycle and pedestrian structure to Hathaway II
were dropped when the estimated price tag went from $3 million
to $8 million dollars.
the Bay County Bridge Authority, the Panama City Metropolitan
Planning Organization (MPO) and the Bay County Tourist Development
Council all voted to support the construction of a new bridge.
Hathaway Bridge came to life in 1999, when the Florida State
legislature approved an appropriation of more than $80 million
dollars for construction. The Florida Department of Transportation
announced that it would replace the Hathaway Bridge with two
new bridges in the same location.
tax dollars will be used for the project, no bond issues will
be initiated and the new bridge will not be a toll structure.
Both spans of the new bridge are scheduled to be open to traffic
with three lanes in both directions by Fall 2003.