Pensacola Bay Bridge now set to reopen the end of May
May 3, 2021
More than two months behind schedule, the Florida Department of Transportation recently announced the Pensacola Bay Bridge will reopen at the end of May.
In its latest update on the Pensacola Bay Bridge recovery efforts, FDOT said the reopening of the Pensacola Bay Bridge is on schedule for the week of May 31. Initially, the reopening was scheduled for March. However, crews discovered more damages to repair.
According to an FDOT news release, contractors have completed the installation of multiple stay-in-place forms and are currently pouring and leveling concrete on the Pensacola Bay Bridge. After that is complete, crews will build a reinforced, protective wall for motorists driving over the bridge. Then crews will install electrical conduit and roadway striping.
FDOT advises motorists to continue using existing detours, including the Garcon Point Bridge and State Road 87. Toll suspensions for the Garcon Point Bridge have been extended through May 9.
The entire Pensacola Bay Bridge project is expected to be complete in January 2022.
The bridge shut down last year after suffering severe damage from a hurricane. 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.
On Feb. 18, FDOT announced that it plans on reopening the Pensacola Bay Bridge in phases in March. Specifically, the first phase was to begin during the week of March 22. However, crews found additional repairs needed for one of the bridge’s support structures called “trophy pieces.” Trophy pieces, when placed atop piles, constitute bridge piers that are mounted at the end of each span to support the superstructure and transfer loads to the foundations, according to FDOT.
The reopening of the bridge is planned to include two phases. 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 also will be available. Phase two consists of opening the remaining 4,000 feet to four lanes of traffic.
For regular updates on the reopening of the bridge, go to FDOT.gov/PensacolaBay. LL