Pensacola Bay Bridge Set To Reopen March 22 With Lane Restrictions

February 18, 2021

The Florida Department of Transportation will reopen the Pensacola Bay Bridge in March, but only with two lanes in one section.

Under a phased plan announced Thursday afternoon by Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Kevin J. Thibault, nearly the first mile of Pensacola end of the bridge will only have two lanes of traffic while four lanes will be open for the remainder of the 3-mile long bridge. The target date for the partial reopening is March 22.

“FDOT understands that this has been a tough time for Pensacola and Gulf Breeze residents and has been laser-focused on reconnecting these communities as safely and quickly as possible,” Thibault said during a press conference in Milton.  “We will continue to work with the contractor to ensure the final repairs are completed by Memorial Day and at a superior level of quality so it may serve these communities for decades to come.”

The first phase will open two lanes of traffic (one in each direction) for the first 4,000 feet on the Pensacola side. The remaining approximate two miles of the bridge will be open to four lanes of traffic (two in each direction). During this initial phase, the speed limit will be temporarily set at 35 mph and emergency refuge areas will be available on the bridge.

To quickly clear travel lanes following vehicle incidents, assist drivers in the event of mechanical breakdowns, and keep the bridge free of debris, FDOT’s Road Ranger Service Patrol will be stationed on each end of the bridge from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. on weekends and major holidays. At other times, at least one unit will be on-call and available. Law enforcement will also be on site 24-hours a day on both ends of the bridge to alert drivers about the temporary restrictions.

The second phase, which consists of opening the remaining 4,000 feet to four lanes of traffic, will be complete by Memorial Day.

Consistent with the requirements within the construction contract, FDOT will continue to withhold payments of $35,000 per day until four lanes of traffic are restored to the entire southbound span of the Pensacola Bay Bridge. FDOT is regularly reviewing the contractor’s schedule of the entire Pensacola Bay Bridge Project with the anticipated completion date for all improvements currently scheduled for January 2022.

A combination of adverse weather and unexpected obstructions on the seabed of Pensacola Bay have impacted the original plan to open four lanes of traffic. Over the course of the repairs, crews demobilized twice in October 2020 for Hurricanes Delta and Zeta as well as experiencing a number of days with high winds and heavy rains. Because crews are working with soil and other hidden features in the earth, unforeseen complications can be encountered. The phased reopening makes weather-rlated and unforeseen conditions more manageable by removing many of the in-water components from the first phase schedule.

Motorists should continue to use all available detour routes, which still includes the Garcon Point Bridge and State Road 87. At this time, tolls on the Garcon Point Bridge have been suspended through Friday, March 12. Commuters can also use the Escambia County Area Transit’s (ECAT) temporary bus route travel between Pensacola and Gulf Breeze free of charge.

The Pensacola Bay Bridge was closed when multiple Skanska barges struck and damaged the bridge during Hurricane Sally.

Pictured: Repair work this week on the Pensacola Bay Bridge. Photo for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Comments

4 Responses to “Pensacola Bay Bridge Set To Reopen March 22 With Lane Restrictions”

  1. Nine Mile on February 19th, 2021 9:55 am

    They’ve almost completed the bay bridge TWICE before Nine Mile Road Widening is finished.

  2. Alex Macinnis on February 19th, 2021 9:52 am

    If you believe this bull larky. They throw dates around like the hurricane threw the barges around

  3. Alan on February 19th, 2021 5:03 am

    I am somewhat disappointed. It was just a week or so ago there was a press release on this very website from the FDOT showing everything was on schedule with some items even ahead of schedule. Now we are told there will not be 4 lanes of traffic until possibly Memorial Day, which is May 31st, two months beyond the March 31st date we have been told. Makes one wonder whether or not that deadline will be met as well.

  4. BWeavr on February 18th, 2021 6:58 pm

    Who wants to be first to drive across?





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