Press release provided by FDOT
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is advancing demolition efforts on the Pensacola Bay Bridge as final underwater inspections are nearing completion.
Three bridge contractors mobilized by FDOT are focusing their efforts at the outermost spans of the bridge to facilitate construction and minimize impacts to the existing structure. Along with the complete removal of two damaged spans of the bridge and debris removal from two other spans, crews are removing damaged portions from two additional spans. One barge remains under the bridge. To date, 22 of the 27 barges have been removed from the area.
After approving modified pier design plans, FDOT is reviewing design plans for the permanent repairs that address the reconstruction of spans for the bridge and reestablishment of four lanes of traffic on the bridge at the same condition as expected for new construction.
The fabrication of multiple concrete piles, piers, and beams continues in preparation for reconstruction. The inventory of concrete piles and beams continues to increase with production coming from the Pensacola precast yard and a facility in Tampa. Replacement piers will begin casting by mid-November 2020.
FDOT has been continuously working to improve the traffic flow along the Pensacola Bay Bridge detour routes and has reduced the average commute time by 25 percent. Additional improvements are underway as construction has begun to widen 2,000 feet of northbound and southbound S.R. 281 south of the I-10 interchange and widen the eastbound I-10 off ramp at eastbound S.R. 281 off ramp to two lanes.
To reinforce FDOT Secretary Kevin J. Thibault’s, P.E. expectation of complete transparency and community assistance, FDOT’s outreach team has met with stakeholder groups, state and local officials, civic organizations and local business owners to discuss the bridge reconstruction as well as other actions that are being considered to efficiently restore regional connectivity. FDOT will continue to meet with multiple stakeholder groups throughout the course of the project.
FDOT continues to develop and improve alternative transportation solutions to move people and goods safely and efficiently through the region while the Pensacola Bay Bridge is being repaired. Examples include:
- Funding the Escambia County Area Transit’s (ECAT) temporary bus route to help transport passengers for free between Pensacola and Gulf Breeze.
- Gathering information such as potential ridership, times of operation, and duration of service as well as reviewing existing facilities that would be necessary for the safe operation of a ferry.
The Pensacola Bay Bridge has a targeted re-opening date of early March 2021. Once repairs are complete, all four lanes will be open with no load restrictions. As each repair method is developed, FDOT will be conducting reviews to ensure the contractor is hitting all milestones in the established schedule.
Motorists should continue to use all available detour routes, which include the Garcon Point Bridge and State Road 87. At this time, tolls on the Garcon Point Bridge have been suspended through 6 a.m., Friday, November 13.
Details on the detour routes, including graphics, FAQs, and regular updates can be found online at fdot.gov/PensacolaBay. Members of the public wishing to receive these updates can choose to subscribe by providing their email address on this website as well.