Escambia County officials expect to reopen another lane of the Bob Sikes Bridge leading to Pensacola Beach in a week and estimate the entire bridge will reopen in three weeks or less.
“We expect engineering to be complete today and the notice to proceed by end of day (Monday),” Escambia County Commissioner Robert Bender said on Sunday of crews beginning work to re-fortify the bridge after Hurricane Sally.
Officials closed the southbound bridge lanes after the hurricane caused heavy storm erosion. Officials also put a checkpoint at the base of the bridge on the northern side, slowing traffic to allow only residents and those with commercial business on the island to pass.
Residents should be prepared to show a driver’s license or utility bill, while commercial drivers can provide other official business documentation, Bender said.
“The bridge itself is structurally sound, but for the southbound lanes, there’s been erosion on both the north and south end of the bridge,” Bender said during a county press conference Thursday. “So we’ll be working over the next week or two to replace that. Then we’ll shift to the north side to repair some minor damage that’s over there.”
On Sunday, Bender said estimates of damage to the bridge itself would be available later in the day.
Officials have not limited the size or types of vehicles that may cross the bridge. Bender said flagmen stationed at the bridge will stop traffic and move road cones for larger trucks that need to pass to drive down the center of the two lanes currently open to drivers.
“Of course, please proceed slowly, we do have officers and flagmen out there and of course please be mindful of their safety while crossing the bridge.
Contact CD Davidson-Hiers at 850-631-0958, or CDavidsonH@Tallahassee.com. Twitter: @DavidsonHiers.