The eventual eastbound span (Pensacola to Gulf Breeze) of the new Pensacola Bay Bridge opened in September 2019. At that time, two lanes of east and two lanes of westbound traffic were transitioned to the bridge. The traffic shift is allowing crews to continue demolition of the former bridge and construct the new westbound (Gulf Breeze to Pensacola) structure.
When work is complete the new Pensacola Bay Bridge will accommodate:
- Three 12-foot travel lanes.
- Ten-foot inside and outside shoulders.
- A 10-foot multi-use path for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Architectural elements will include a central arch that will add aesthetic distinction to the bridge and provide primary structural support for the multi-use paths. Shaded observation points will be constructed along the paths with benches that will allow users space to rest, reflect, and enjoy the panoramic vistas of Pensacola Bay.
Recreational facilities on both the Gulf Breeze and Pensacola shorelines will feature boat launches, picnic areas, and free parking. The fishing pier on the Pensacola side of the bay will remain in place once the new bridge is completed.
Marine traffic will be enhanced by a center span that increases vertical clearance from 50- to 65-feet. The width of the navigational channel will also be increased from 125 to 150-feet.
Construction work is currently focused on demolishing the old bridge, completing the new westbound structure, and constructing a new interchange at 17th Avenue in Pensacola.
Both the bridge and the new interchange are currently estimated for completion in late-2021.
Planned lane closures
To minimize traffic impacts during the construction program, lane closures will be limited to overnight hours, 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Otherwise, four lanes of traffic will remain open. Access to private property adjacent to U.S. 98 on the bridge approaches will also be maintained at all times.