Pensacola Bay Bridge reopens after eight-month closure
May 28, 2021
After being closed for more than eight months, the Pensacola Bay Bridge has finally reopened.
On Friday, May 28, the Florida Department of Transportation announced that the Pensacola Bay Bridge is open to traffic. FDOT’s initial plans were to reopen the bridge in March. However, newly discovered repairs set that date back by two months.
According to a news release, most of the bridge is open. Currently, there are four open lanes, two in each direction. West of the bridge’s arch, there is a half-mile segment of two lanes to allow for the completion of final repairs. Speed limits are temporarily set at 35 mph. Emergency refuge areas are also available on the bridge.
As mentioned by FDOT when it anticipated a March reopening, FDOT Road Ranger Service Patrol officers will be placed on each end of the Pensacola Bay Bridge from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. On the weekends and major holidays, officers will be available from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Their presence is to ensure lanes are quickly cleared following a crash, help drivers whose vehicles break down and keep debris off the bridge. During nonbusiness hours, a patrol unit will be on-call.
Although the detour using the Garcon Point Bridge and State Road 87 are no longer needed, FDOT will continue the toll suspension on the Garcon Point Bridge through June 6.
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 planned to reopen the Pensacola Bay Bridge in phases in March. 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.
For regular updates on the full project, go to FDOT.gov/PensacolaBay. LL