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Construction Begins on 4-Mile FL Bridge

Thursday, June 29, 2017

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A $398 million bridge construction project is newly underway in Florida, with pile-driving having begun earlier this month, and a visit from Gov. Rick Scott officially kicking off work Monday (June 26).

Gov. Rick Scott
Office of Gov. Rick Scott

At a kickoff event for the Pensacola Bay Bridge construction Monday, Scott praised the $398.5 million project.

The project will replace the current Pensacola Bay Bridge, a concrete girder bridge built in 1960, with a new set of two spans totaling six lanes of traffic. The bridge will span 4.2 miles total (including approaches), carrying US Route 98 across Pensacola Bay between Pensacola and Gulf Breeze, to the south.

About the Project

The Pensacola Bay Bridge was marked for replacement by the Florida Department of Transportation after the old bridge was deemed to be structurally deficient in 2010, and projections show that the bridge will need six lanes to keep up with traffic needs by 2040. The new bridge will be the third at the site; an early bascule bridge built in 1931 was replaced by the current four-lane concrete bridge. The bridge in this location serves as an important evacuation route in case of hurricanes.

Skanska USA was awarded the design-build contract for the bridge, and the company’s winning design was unveiled in 2016. Crews hope to meet a 2019 deadline for the construction of the first span, and have both new spans operational by the summer of 2020. If the first span is operational by Jan. 27, 2019, the Skanska team will earn a $15 million bonus.

Pensacola Bay Bridge rendering
Rendering courtesy of FDOT

The center span of the bridge will be an arch, with a 65-foot vertical clearance, about 15 feet higher than the previous concrete girder bridge.

The $398.5 million price tag of the bridge replacement makes it the largest transportation infrastructure project in the history of northwest Florida, according to the state.

The center span of the bridge will be an arch, with a 65-foot vertical clearance, about 15 feet higher than the previous concrete girder bridge. The center arch span will also allow 150 feet of horizonal clearance for boat traffic below, as opposed to the current 125-foot space.

Construction Kickoff

Crews began driving test piles June 8, according to FDOT. The project will reportedly require a total of 2,000 concrete piles overall. The Gulf Breeze News reports that the piles are being fabricated at a Skanska facility in Pensacola.

At a kickoff event for the bridge construction Monday, Scott praised the project and noted that he has increased the state’s transportation budget by $4 billion since he took office in 2011.

While officials have said the current bridge is safe to cross in spite of its structurally deficient label, an FDOT spokesman told the Pensacola News Journal that the agency will be “shoring it up, and making sure it lasts through the construction process.”


Tagged categories: Bridges; Construction; Infrastructure; North America; Program/Project Management; Roads/Highways

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