Robert Bender

U.S. Navy on Flickr

Blue Angels Weekend visitors won’t have to worry about the $1 toll as entrance to Pensacola Beach will be free. Following public safety concerns because of backups on the bridge, Escambia County has worked to find quicker ways to move traffic. County Commissioner Robert Bender represents Santa Rosa Island and has been trouble shooting the problem.

Work to extend the life of the 45-year-old Bob Sikes Bridge is scheduled to begin at the end of this year, aimed at tacking on another 10-15 years of use.

“It is safe; it is not an unsafe bridge, that’s absolutely not the case. It’s just an older bridge that needs some TLC,” says David Forte, Escambia County’s Director of Engineering. A recent inspection, he says, drew their attention to a couple of things that started the ball rolling on what Forte calls some “major rehabilitation work.”