Travelers driving through the Pensacola area are advised to use caution, when approaching and going through a pair of major bridge projects.
Work on the Escambia Bay Bridge on Interstate-10 began last week, at a cost of $38.6 million.
“[Construction] probably will last about nine months; there will still be two lanes of traffic in that area, they’ll just be a traffic shift,” said Ian Satter at the Florida Department of Transportation in Quincy.
“That’s actually all part of our project to widen I-10 from 4-6 lanes from the bridge to Avalon Boulevard,” said Satter. ”This is one of the beginning steps we’re taking to help transition some of that traffic as we widen that particular roadway.”
All construction activities are weather permitting. Re-scheduling may be necessary in the event of inclement weather. The bridge was built to replace the span that was severely damaged by Hurricane Ivan in 2004.
A few miles to the west of the I-10 Bridge is another major project – replacing the span on 12th Avenue over Bayou Texar. Satter says that work on the $4.2 million project is scheduled to begin next week.
“It’s going to be a longer and wider bridge – two north and two southbound lanes,” Satter said. “It will have a higher elevation; it’s going to have bike lanes and sidewalks. You’ll see a raised center median and a traffic separator.”
Construction of the 12th Avenue Bridge will be carried out in two phases, one at a time, with completion expected in the fall of next year. During both, traffic will be reduced from four to two lanes.
The projects are included in the Florida Department of Transportation’s Five-Year Work Program, which is developed in partnership with local groups, such as the Florida-Alabama Transportation Planning Organization.
Meanwhile, work continues on a third major project – replacing the 55-year-old Three Mile Bridge over Pensacola Bay. F-DOT’s Ian Satter says they’re looking at some ideas, with groundbreaking still set for about two years from now.
“We’ve not yet selected a design or a contractor at this point; that’s still coming up,” said Satter. “When we have a design in place we will bring that to the public and let them give their input, before we begin construction in 2017.”
And the City of Pensacola says traffic on U-S Highway 98 across the Bay Bridge may see some delays, as crews perform repairs on bridge joints from eight o’clock Wednesday evening to five o’clock Thursday morning.