Gaetz: Six-Lane Widening For Portion Of Highway 29; New Bay Bridge

February 1, 2013

A six lane upgrade to a portion of Highway 29 and a new no-toll Three Mile Bridge were among nearly $1 billion in transportation funding announced Thursday by Senate President Don Gaetz (R-Niceville) and representatives from the Florida Department of Transportation.

Gaetz said he was told the initiative constitutes the largest single investment in our area’s transportation infrastructure in state history.

Escambia County will see widening of Highway 29 from four to six lanes from Nine Mile Road to I-10.  The interchange at Nine Mile Road will be replaced with a “tight urban diamond” and existing ramps will be converted to service roads.  Construction is planned for 2016 at a cost of $50.8 million.

The largest single project is the replacement of the Three Mile Bridge on Highway 98 connecting  Pensacola and Gulf Breeze.  The bridge will cost $595.6 million to build.  Construction will begin in two years following acquisition of right of way and environmental permits.

The Senate President emphasized that the new bridge will not be a toll bridge but will be paid for entirely by state transportation funds.

Northwest Florida’s three ports – Pensacola, Panama City and Port St. Joe – will all receive improvements totaling $14.5 million.  Gaetz praised Montford (D-Tallahassee) for his persistence and success in championing port funding as a way to help manufacturing and agriculture.  Montford is chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Gaetz said the impact of the historic investments will be to help the private sector create more and better jobs.

“Hundreds of jobs will be created during the engineering and construction of these projects,” Gaetz explained.  “But the real economic value is in building the arteries that get products to and from market.  A burst of construction getting that infrastructure in place will help our communities attract and keep growing businesses that need skilled workers for decades to come.”

Santa Rosa County will receive $23.9 million in state funds to add two lanes to the existing two lane State Road 87 from Eglin AFB’s boundary to two miles south of the Yellow River.

Millions of dollars of projects were also announced in Okaloosa, Washington, Holmes and Bay counties.

Pictured top: The Three Mile Bridge linking Pensacola and Gulf Breeze is set for replacement. Pictured inset: Highway 29 from Nine Mile Road to I-10 will become six lanes. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

Comments

14 Responses to “Gaetz: Six-Lane Widening For Portion Of Highway 29; New Bay Bridge”

  1. David Huie Green on February 4th, 2013 5:13 pm

    OBEYING:
    “The ports are nothing to contemplate ”

    Okay, you’re the boss.

    David the obedient

  2. Again. on February 4th, 2013 2:05 pm

    Huh..? Ports? The ports are nothing to contemplate about and are not even an issue. They are a separate function as indicated above. However, this new roadway expansion project is good for our local economy. The jobs this will create alone, will be very beneficial to many individuals. As well, a new and functional infrastructure makes it more appealing and attractive for businesses to want to locate to our area. This is because they want to ensure shipments and cargo movement is logistically sound. Yes, and even school bus routes may become more efficient and safer while driving in traffic that is free flowing. I wish it could begin even sooner.

    It’s awesome to know that someone in our state offices is thinking of us for once.

  3. David Huie Green on February 3rd, 2013 10:53 pm

    CONTEMPLATING:
    “Pensacola was a deep water port…for sailing ships. Spending money there is a waste. I think the port has lost money almost every year for decades.”

    Possibly. The question which comes to mind, though, is whether it is inherently a money loser or if it could be a money maker with proper upgrades. If it can’t handle containers and containers are increasingly the main way to move cargo, then switching to better loading and unloading capability for containers might bring in much more traffic and money.

    If dredging could easily allow deeper draft ships access, that might make a big difference. If it couldn’t, it wouldn’t.

    I know Pensacola enjoys some tax advantages because it is a port. People in Elberton, GA have in the past told us they could truck in materials cheaper if they first went to Pensacola and then back to Bluff Springs. It’s strange, but tax laws often are. Those advantages would be lost if it ceased to be a port.

    Some ports have set up offshore platforms (linked to shore by pipelines) to transfer petroleum while still several miles out at sea so they don’t get caught in harbor traffic. Just for fun imagine a floating platform a mile or two out, in water plenty deep for loading and unloading freighters with a submarine umbilicus (floating tunnel going through the water rather than through soil or rock, anchored above the bottom but below ship depths) going to land to allow transfers to and fro. It would create a super deep water port. Anchoring it against hurricanes would be a job but probably not impossible.

    David for better transportation

  4. D P on February 2nd, 2013 1:48 am

    For 3 mile bridge, I personally think they should make 6 lanes of traffic with the center 2 lanes being enclosed by concrete with gates at each end that open ONLY when there is an accident on the bridge. The center lanes will allow traffic to continue moving while the accident is SAFELY being cleaned up and removed then the center lanes would close back off till the next time. It sounds logical to me but nobody asked me so there ya go. LoL

  5. Centrist on February 1st, 2013 8:37 pm

    Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen…….. who said that? Yep, that’s right. Doesn’t sound right does it ?

    “Hundreds of jobs will be created during the engineering and construction of these projects,” Gaetz explained. “But the real economic value is in building the arteries that get products to and from market. A burst of construction getting that infrastructure in place will help our communities attract and keep growing businesses that need skilled workers for decades to come.”
    Gaetz said he was told the initiative constitutes the largest single investment in our area’s transportation infrastructure in state history.

    Thx Don for helping to bring our tax dollars back to the panhandle allowing our businesses to have decent infrastructure to move our employees, goods, and services. Our public roads, highways, and ports are critical to the future success of the Panhandle.

  6. Robert Jackson on February 1st, 2013 10:36 am

    Pensacola was a deep water port…for sailing ships. Spending money there is a waste. I think the port has lost money almost every year for decades.

  7. Keith on February 1st, 2013 9:22 am

    Based upon drawings I have seen, the new Pensacola Bay Bridge will have three traffic lanes, a full-sized shoulder to the left AND the right, plus a pedestrian/bike path protected by a barrier. This will apply to northbound AND southbound.

  8. Mike J. on February 1st, 2013 8:37 am

    I think the intersection mentioned is currently a tight urban diamond. At least according to what I just read on Wikipedia.

  9. Chrissy on February 1st, 2013 8:25 am

    The link below shows an example and explanation of the Tight Urban Diamond:
    http://2isfo.eng.hawaii.edu/Presentations/Session%2023_Student%20Competition/23%20-%20Amer%20%20%28PPT%29.pdf

  10. A-Z on February 1st, 2013 7:37 am

    I agree Chris. What a poorly designed on ramp where your lane is traffic compressed into the bridge on the fast lane side of I-10 in a curve. Can’t believe that hasn’t been fixed. The only way I see to fix it is to go under the bridge as you go south on Hwy 29 and left turn like you do at pine forest road and I-10 and millions of other intersections like that.

  11. New to Century on February 1st, 2013 7:32 am

    Chris, I was thinking the same thing…wider roads are good in that area but if you still risk your life getting on the Interstate, I would perfered having a wider on ramp.

    G M Is the interchange on Davis just north of Universary Mall a “tight urban diamond”?

    Now for the replacement of the Three Mile Bridge….sure hope the “new” bridge will have proper safety lanes (wide enough for the whole broken down car to get out of the right of way with enough extra space for car doors to be opened and LEOs and wrecker employees to do their jobs without risk of being mowed down by some “rage driver”). Sitting on that bridge for hours on end is not my idea of a fun trip to the beach.

  12. Matt on February 1st, 2013 7:00 am

    Well this all well and good but its all a little to late they should have put money into the port long ago. I can remember when the port was busy all the time with full time jobs.we have a natural deep water water pass that should have been being used this whole time.

  13. G M on February 1st, 2013 6:25 am

    What is a “tight urban diamond”?

  14. Chris on February 1st, 2013 6:07 am

    It would have been nice if they would fix the suicide on/off ramp at US29 & I10





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