Pensacola Bay Bridge reopening possibly delayed

March 10, 2021

Tyson Fisher

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Reopening of the Pensacola Bay Bridge may happen later than planned after crews discovered more needed repairs.

According to a Facebook post from the Florida Department of Transportation’s Northwest division, contractors working on the Pensacola Bay Bridge found additional repairs needed for one of the bridge’s 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.

So what does this mean for the reopening of the bridge? The answer to that question is still up in the air.

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, newly discovered repairs may move that date up, but FDOT has not yet said how the Pensacola Bay Bridge reopening timeline is affected.

“FDOT is currently conducting a comprehensive assessment of the replacement to determine how it will affect the current re-opening schedule,” FDOT said in a news release.

Several attempts to reach FDOT were unsuccessful.

Pensacola Bay Bridge trophy piece
Crews working on the Pensacola Bay Bridge found repairs needed on a trophy piece, likely delaying the reopening. (Source: Florida Department of Transportation)

In the meantime, FDOT is telling motorists to continue to use all available detours, including the Garcon Point Bridge and state Road 87. Toll suspension on that bridge has been extended through March 12.

To date, the following repairs to the Pensacola Bay Bridge have been completed:

  • 30 piles driven.
  • Five trophy pieces installed.
  • 20 of 36 beams set.
  • Five of 11 partial decks replaced.
  • One of two full decks replaced.

When the bridge does reopen, 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 initially expected to complete the final phase of the Pensacola Bay Bridge opening by Memorial Day.

Regular updates and detour routes can be found at FDOT.gov/PensacolaBay. LL

 

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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.