What work is being performed?
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District Three is replacing the Pensacola Bay Bridge.
How much does the project cost and who is paying for it?
The design and construction cost of the project is approximately $398.5 million. The project is being funded by the Florida Department of Transportation.
Can you describe the features and amenities of the new bridge?
The new bridge will consist of two separate and parallel structures. Each bridge will accommodate three 12-foot travel lanes along with 10-foot inside and outside shoulders. The wider shoulders will make it easier to respond to incidents on the bridge, remove disabled vehicles, and keep traffic moving. Additionally, the new east and westbound bridges will include a 10-foot multi-use path that should quickly become a favorite for walkers, joggers, and bicyclists.
How long will it take to complete the work?
The project is expected to be completed by mid-2021.
Will there be any traffic impacts during construction period?
FDOT and the construction team will endeavor to limit traffic impacts whenever possible. Temporary lane closures will not be permitted between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m.
What about marine traffic?
The United States Coast Guard (USCG) is responsible for marine traffic. The USCG will keep the public informed of any construction activities affecting marine traffic through the Local Notice to Mariners program. The notices are available here.
What is the plan for the recreational areas adjacent to the bridge in Gulf Breeze?
The wayside park on the east side of U.S. 98 in Gulf Breeze and the boat launch facility on the on the west side closed in March 2017. These areas will be used to stage construction vehicles and equipment and will be accessible only by construction and emergency services personnel. Plans call for constructing new recreational facilities at these locations.
What is the plan for the recreational areas adjacent to the bridge in Pensacola?
The wayside park on the east side of U.S. 98 is slated to remain open during construction. However, the area on the west side of U.S. 98 closed in March 2017. This area will be used to stage construction vehicles and equipment and not accessible to the general public. Plans call for constructing new recreational facilities in Pensacola.
Who is responsible for the construction work?
The construction project is being administered by the Florida Department of Transportation, District Three. Skanska USA Civil Southeast, Inc. is leading the design-build team. Eisman & Russo is providing construction engineering and inspection services in support of FDOT.
Will there be a ferry service associated with the bridge construction?
There will be no ferry system associated with the Pensacola Bay Bridge replacement project. However, the City of Pensacola is expected to begin operating a ferry system in 2018. This city-operated system is not a component of the Pensacola Bay Bridge replacement project. More information on the city ferry service is available here.
Explain the means and methods for the demolition process.
Four holes are cored through each concrete bridge deck and lifting brackets are inserted. The deck sections are then cut free and lifted by a crane onto a disposal barge for transportation to the reef site. Hydraulic-powered concrete pile shears are then be used to cut the pile just below the cap so it can be placed on the barge. Finally, the same pile shears are dropped to the bay bottom and the remainder of the pile is cut off two-feel below the bottom of the bay (also called the “mudline.”) The cut pile is then lifted onto the disposal barge.
What is the anticipated volume of demolition debris?
The total cubic feet or tonnage has not been calculated. However, there are a total of 254 concrete bridge decks that must be removed. In addition, there is the substructure consisting of concrete piles, columns, and caps. Also, there are 1,430 piles that will be cut-off two feet below the “mudline” and transported to the reef site for disposal.
How long will it take to wrap-up the demolition work?
The contractor’s schedule reflects demolition operations continuing until mid-2020.
Will construction of the new bridge continue while demolition is underway?
Yes, construction of the new westbound bridge is underway simultaneous with demolition activities. Crews have begun driving the concrete piles.
How far offshore is the disposal site?
There are two artificial reef sites permitted by Escambia County, Fla. that are approximately 4.3 nautical miles south-southeast of the Pensacola Bay pass to the Gulf of Mexico. A third site, and the one that will be used first, is 8.95 nautical miles southeast of the Pensacola bay pass to the Gulf of Mexico.
Are there any restrictions on marine traffic?
Yes. During the demolition of the main span and beam; pier; and fender system the navigational channel will be closed by the U.S. Coast Guard. The USCG will actively control marine traffic during this time. At other times there remains a 500-foot buffer surrounding all construction equipment and activities. The USCG will enforce the buffer zone. Only low or idle speeds are allowed within the buffer zone.
Will there be any pedestrian restrictions?
The multiuse path that is part of the eventual eastbound bridge is estimated for completion by the end of the calendar year. Once the multiuse path is completed no pedestrian travel restrictions are anticipated.
What is the status of the Pensacola Bay Fishing Pier that is adjacent to the bridge?
The pier is operated by Escambia County. Decisions on opening or closing the pier will continue to be within the purview of the county. During certain demolition activities it may become necessary to close the pier for short periods of time.