Traffic: Construction Begins On Pensacola Beach Roadway, Toll Booth Improvements
May 11, 2013
Escambia County’s Public Works Department has started construction on more than $430,000 in roadway improvements designed to enhance traffic flow and address safety concerns for pedestrians headed to Pensacola Beach:
The improvements include:
- Extending the fourth lane approaching the toll plaza so vehicles can access that lane at the foot of bridge instead of a few yards away.
- Extending the fourth lane exiting the toll plaza to give vehicles more time to merge with traffic on Pensacola Beach Boulevard.
- Lengthening the eastern transponder beach pass lane from the foot of the bridge.
- Extending the turning lane into The Grand Marlin restaurant and bridge fishing pier on the south side of the toll plaza to provide more room for vehicles to stack up.
- Enlarging the right turn lane on the northbound side of Pensacola Beach Boulevard to improve access to the bridge fishing pier and The Grand Marlin.
- Installing a pedestrian crosswalk with pavement embedded flashing lights on Pensacola Beach Boulevard at the Quietwater Beach pavilion area to the east and Pensacola Beach Marina and the Elk’s Lodge on the west side of the street.
- Upgrading the toll plaza’s transponder readers and hardware to make them operate more efficiently.
This fall, toll plaza software and hardware improvements will eliminate toll gate arms, which slow traffic. Upgrades will include the installation of the state’s prepaid toll program, SunPass, or a similar system. This will significantly improve traffic flow through the toll booth, more than doubling the number of cars able to pass through the plaza during peak times to 2,350 cars per hour.
A photo enforcement system will be installed at the three manned booths where toll takers will continue to take cash. This will allow the lane arms to be removed, and violators who pass through the toll plaza without paying will receive a bill for the $1 toll, plus additional surcharges. Nonpayment of the toll and surcharges could result in a $100 fine plus additional surcharges per a state law governing toll plazas.
Work is currently underway and the major portion of the roadwork is expected within the next few weeks. Other work such as relocating utilities will continue for a few months.
In order to minimize disruptions to beach traffic, Escambia County has instructed its contractor – Panhandle Paving and Grading – to limit work hours from work a 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., weekdays only. Additionally, there may be instances when lanes will be shut down during evening hours to complete necessary work.