Courtesy: Florida Department of Transportation
The Florida Department of Transportation has ramped up its demolition project on the Pensacola Bay Bridge, as contractors are currently working to remove damaged spans of the bridge by unmoored construction barges during Hurricane Sally in mid-September.
According to the latest bridge update by FDOT, debris from two spans of the bridge have been successfully cleared, and one of the damaged spans has been completely removed while mitigating any further damage to the standing structure. And 21 of the 27 barges have been removed, with one remaining under the bridge.
Included in the repairs is the designing and reestablishment of four traffic lanes focusing on substructure repairs, per a press release from FDOT.
Last week, FDOT personnel and contractors on the project relocated and moored equipment in secure zones away from the Pensacola Bay Bridge in preparation for potential storm surge and wind damage by oncoming Hurricane Zeta. Since the storm’s passing, inspectors assessed the bridge and reported no further damages.
In conjunction with the bridge removal efforts, FDOT is also improving S.R 281 traffic flow by beginning to widen 2,000 feet of north and southbound off-ramps just south of the I-10 interchange and widening the eastbound I-10 off-ramp at eastbound S.R. 281 off-ramp to two lanes. These efforts are being made to improve current commuting times along the detour routes of the PBB.
The estimated reopening date of the Pensacola Bay Bridge is early March 2021, barring any major setbacks, according to the agency. Once the repairs are made, all four lanes will be fully reopened with no load restrictions.
In the meantime, FDOT suggests commuters who normally use the bridge to get across the bay to seek alternate routes, including State Road 87 and the Garcon Point Bridge. Tolls along the Garcon Point Bridge have since been suspended through Friday, November 13, at 6 a.m.
Also known as the Three-Mile bridge, the PBB measures 15,640 feet in length and sees roughly 50,000 vehicles and motorists per day.
For more updates and alternate routes suggested by FDOT, click here.
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William is a South Florida native with professional experience writing at the collegiate and national news outlet level. He loves fishing, playing soccer and watching sports in his spare time and is a fan of all South Florida teams.