Two crashes occurred Sunday morning near a stretch of U.S. 90 where crews were working to repair erosion damage caused by Hurricane Sally.
The erosion damage happened near where the highway crosses overtop the Escambia Bay via the Escambia River Bridge.
To do their work Sunday, Florida Department of Transportation personnel closed one lane of U.S. 90 near their work site close to the Escambia River Bridge.
Around 2 a.m. Sunday, a suspected drunken driver crashed into a semitruck pulling a tanker-trailer very close to the area where FDOT crews had been working.
“It is a matter of an impaired driver coming into that area and having a crash,” said Florida Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Ron Livingston.
The crash did not damage the bridge, but did prompt U.S. 90 to completely close to traffic for about three hours in the early morning.
The roadway reopened around 5 a.m. after the crash site had been cleared, however, one lane on U.S. 90 still remained closed because the FDOT crews were still working near the Escambia River Bridge, Livingston explained.
Around 6 a.m., a second accident occurred in the same vicinity near the Escambia River Bridge. Livingston said it was a rear-end collision that resulted from backed up traffic.
The multiple crashes and lane closures led to false rumors circulating in the community about damage to the Escambia River Bridge.
“People keep calling and asking if the bridge has collapsed,” said FHP spokesman Lt. Eddie Elmore. “The bridge has not collapsed. The lane closures have nothing to do with the bridge.”
As of 11:30 a.m. Sunday, the outside eastbound lane of U.S. 90 from the county line — dividing Escambia County and Santa Rosa County — to the Bass Hole Cove Bridge remained closed due to continued work on the erosion caused by Hurricane Sally, according to the FDOT.
Colin Warren-Hicks can be reached at [email protected] or 850-435-8680.