Pensacola Bay Bridge begins reopening in March

February 19, 2021

Tyson Fisher

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Reopening of the Pensacola Bay Bridge is coming near, according to the Florida Department of Transportation.

On Feb. 18, FDOT announced that it plans reopen the Pensacola Bay Bridge in phases in March. The bridge was shut down in September after Hurricane Sally caused severe damage to it. Since then, the Garcon Point Bridge has been used as a temporary detour route.

Phase one will include opening two lanes of traffic – one lane in each direction – for the first 4,000 feet on the Pensacola side. From there, the remaining 2 miles of the Pensacola Bay Bridge will open up to four lanes of traffic, two in each direction. Speed limits will be set temporarily to 35 mph. Emergency refuge areas will also be available.

Phase two consists of opening the remaining 4,000 feet to four lanes of traffic.

FDOT expects to complete the final phase of the Pensacola Bay Bridge opening by Memorial Day.

Pensacola Bay Bridge reopening plan
Phase one of the Pensacola Bay Bridge reopening. (Source: FDOT)

“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,” FDOT Secretary Kevin Thibault said in a statement. “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.”

Motorists are advised to continue using available alternate routes, including the Garcon Point Bridge. Toll suspension on that bridge has been extended through March 12. Initially, the toll suspension was good for only a few days. However, several extensions have been implemented since as work continues on the Pensacola Bay Bridge.

FDOT’s Road Ranger Service Patrol will be at both ends of the Pensacola Bay Bridge from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends and holidays quickly clear up incidents, breakdowns and debris. During off hours, the patrol will have at least one unit on call.

Hurricane Sally made landfall as a Category 2 storm in September. A runaway barge struck the Pensacola Bay Bridge, forcing the closure. Since then, crews experienced several setbacks over the course of the past several months. In October, crews had to stop operations twice as Hurricanes Delta and Zeta moved in.

For regular updates on the reopening of the Pensacola Bay Bridge, go to FDOT.gov/PensacolaBay. LL

TBS
Tyson Fisher

Tyson Fisher joined Land Line Magazine in March 2014. An award-winning journalist and tireless researcher, his news reports, features and blogs bring depth to our editorial content, backed with solid detail. Tyson is a lifelong Kansas Citian.