Florida DOT provides update on Pensacola Bay Bridge recovery efforts

Sept. 25, 2020

The bridge suffered damages as a result of Hurricane Sally

The Florida DOT (FDOT) announced this week that its statewide team of bridge experts is continuing to inspect and assess the impact to the Pensacola Bay Bridge as a result of Hurricane Sally, including the substructure that the department says is located underwater.

Efforts to restore the bridge back to solid condition are being done as quickly, but thoroughly, as possible and the exact timeline for completion of repairs remains unknown at this time, FDOT says.

Three of the contractor’s barges remain on or under the structure, and the removal of those barges will have to be done with great caution. The contractor has prioritized the removal of the barges and will work closely with FDOT to ensure the least amount of additional damage possible to the bridge in this effort.

While the damage assessment is continuing on the bridge, FDOT has the directed the bridge designer to begin the design for the permanent repairs and reestablishment of four lanes of traffic. Durability, and ensuring there is absolutely no reduction in the bridge’s strength as a result of the repairs, remains paramount in the design plans.

Currently, the final total number of the spans or piers that will ultimately need to be replaced is unknown, but FDOT is aware the contractor has some existing inventory that will reduce how many new parts will need to be used for the repairs. In addition, FDOT has directed the contractor to begin constructing more replacement beams and piers at its offsite yard.

Demolition of the damaged areas of the bridge will begin over the next few days, and just as FDOT did with the inspection and assessment efforts, the contractor is bringing in additional resources to expedite demolition. FDOT expects the demolition progress to increase once the barges are removed and the additional resources arrive.

FDOT says further preliminary inspection findings include the number of spans requiring full replacement remains at five and FDOT has identified an additional two that will require partial replacement, and FDOT will have to replace a number of beams and is still determining the specific number needing replacement.

The bridge closure is still anticipated to be for an extended period of time, FDOT says.