Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Pensacola Bay Bridge open to traffic?
Yes. The bridge is open to two lanes of both east and westbound traffic using what will become the eastbound (Pensacola to Gulf Breeze) bridge. Meantime, construction continues on the westbound (Gulf Breeze to Pensacola) bridge.
Is the multiuse path open for pedestrians and bicyclists?
The eastbound (Pensacola to Gulf Breeze) multiuse path reopened in April 2022 to pedestrians and bicyclists. The westbound (Gulf Breeze to Pensacola) multiuse path is still under construction and is slated for completion in late 2022.
When completed, how many lanes will the new bridge have?
The new bridge will accommodate three lanes of both east and westbound traffic. In addition, inside and outside shoulders will flank the travel lanes and be available for emergency vehicles, vehicle breakdowns, etc.
When is construction estimated for completion?
Bridge construction is estimated for completion in late 2022.
Has a new name been selected for the bridge?
Yes. The bridge will be named in honor of U.S. Air Force General Daniel “Chappie” James. A native of Pensacola, Gen. James was the very first African American four-star general in U.S. military history.
Approximately how many vehicles travel the Pensacola Bay Bridge each day?
Average annual daily traffic counts are in excess of 60,000 vehicles.
What happened to the debris from the demolition of the old bridge?
Much of the debris was disposed of offshore in areas managed by the Escambia County Marine Services Division. The demolition debris contributed to fishing reefs.
What is the purpose of the center arches?
The arches serve both an aesthetic and structural purpose. Aesthetically, they add an element of distinction to a bridge that is designed as a blending of art and architecture. Structurally, the arches provide support for the multiuse paths that will accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians.
Are there any restrictions on marine traffic?
Yes. The area around the bridge will continue to be an active construction zone. The U.S. Coast Guard has established a 500-yard buffer zone around ALL bridge construction activities. Only low or idle speeds may be used within the buffer zone. Crossing beneath the bridge is restricted to the center navigational channel that is delineated by the bridge arch.
How is the Pensacola Bay Bridge constructed?
Constructing the new Pensacola Bay Bridge involves an iterative process that begins with crews driving concrete piles into the bay floor. The piles provide the foundation for the structure. Atop the piles, crews install what is known as trophy pieces, which are concrete structures consisting of a footer, a column, and a cap in a single unit. They’re called trophy pieces because when they are placed in an upright position they resemble an athletic trophy. Once the trophy piece is in place atop the piles they constitute a bridge pier.
Each of the pier locations are connected horizontally using concrete girders, which are also sometimes referred to as beams. The concrete bridge decks are then cast in place atop the girders. These decks become the riding surface which vehicles use to cross the bridge.
What is the construction cost of the new bridge?
The construction cost is approximately $434 million, making it the largest transportation infrastructure improvement project in Northwest Florida history. The bridge is funded entirely by the Florida Department of Transportation.
Will the new bridge have a toll?
No. The entire cost of the bridge has been funded by the Florida Department of Transportation.