Pensacola Bay Bridge demolition begins
With all traffic shifted to the eventual eastbound bridge the focus of construction has turned to demolishing the former Pensacola Bay Bridge. To safely remove the concrete and steel components crews first drill cores into the bridge decks to attach the lifting apparatus so it can be attached to a crane. Once the leads are connected to the crane, the bridge deck is cut free using a concrete saw and lifted as a single piece onto a disposal barge.
Concrete shears are then used to cut substructure components that include footers, columns, caps, and piles. The piles are cut-off two-feet below the bottom of the bay (also referred to as the “mudline”) so they won’t pose a future threat for marine traffic. The concrete decks, caps, columns, piles and other demolition debris is disposed of offshore in areas specifically permitted by Escambia County for fishing reefs. Demolition activities are scheduled to continue into the middle of next year.
Meanwhile work is underway to construct the new westbound bridge. Crews have already begun driving the piles for the bridge. All construction is currently estimated for completion in mid-2021.