Beam placement underway
The first of more than a thousand “Florida I-beams” have been placed for the new Pensacola Bay Bridge. The beams connect the trophy pieces one-to-another and will eventually support the bridge deck and riding surface.
The “Florida I-beams” are fabricated at the concrete casting yard on Bayou Chico, then loaded onto barges for the short trip to the construction site. Once they arrive a barge mounted crane lifts them into position. Each is approximately 150-feet long and weighs about 166,000-pounds.
In addition to setting beams, crews continue to drive piles and place the trophy pieces. Each trophy piece consists of a footer, column, and pile cap in a single unit and weighs more than a quarter-million-pounds. A total of 416 trophy pieces will be needed to support both new bridges.
Despite a recent blast of winter weather that has resulted in sub-freezing temperatures, completion of the first bridge (Pensacola to Gulf Breeze) remains on-schedule for January 2019. At that time, four lanes of traffic will be transitioned to this bridge while the second structure (Pensacola to Gulf Breeze) is completed.
Completion of both bridges is projected for summer 2020.