Repairs on the damaged Pensacola Bay Bridge could take up to six months to complete. This is according to an inspection and assessment recently conducted by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). The department is still assessing the number of spans and piers that will need to be replaced during repair.
Already, the contractor has moved on site and started fabrication of the replacement parts with 25 beams and piers already fabricated. Fabrication is done in preparation for the repair work. In addition, according to an announcement from FDOT, the fabrication will help speed up the process of installation with the demolition of the damaged beams and piers.
Three of the barges that damaged some parts of the bridge are still beneath the bridge. The FDOT said it will prioritize removing the barges to avoid injuries during the repair. The department said this work will need to be done with care to avoid further damage to the bridge.
The bridge was extensively damaged by Skanska USA’s Civil Southeast division barges, which tumbled during Hurricane Sally. In a total, 22 barges came off causing a lot of damage to both private and public property.
Inspection work on the project is still ongoing to determine the extent of the damage. The ongoing demolition is mainly focusing on making a way to access the 22 piers that are yet to be inspected. The FDOT said the bridge will remain closed until a full inspection is done and the amount of damage assessed.
Skanska commenced construction of the new span for the Three Mile Bridge, in 2017. The bridge initially had four lanes of traffic, with two lanes heading eastward and another two heading westward. The company announced that it is in consultation with property owners near that bridge whose property was damaged by the barges. According to Skanska, “each barge is a unique recovery operation” that will require expert input to help in safely removing them.