Demolitions necessary to complete a damage assessment of the Pensacola Bay Bridge began Monday, according to the Florida Department of Transportation. Hurricane Sally dislodged 22 construction and equipment barges owned by contractor Skanska USA, and several of the loose barges collided with the bridges and caused significant damage.
According to Pensacola News Journal, the bridge has been closed since the collisions, and state officials have estimated that the bridge will be out of service for an “extended” period of time.
As of now, most of the bridge has been inspected, and they are hoping a damage assessment will wrap up this week. However, the department will first have to clear debris near the bridge so dive teams and inspect damage below the waterline. FDOT will be able to provide a firmer estimate of the timeline for repairs.
According to the article, divers have inspected 202 underwater footing, and the demolition operation will allow the team to inspect the final 22 footings.
Separate top-side inspection teams have assessed 105 spans, 202 piers, and 525 beams. So far, they have determined five spans of the bridge will have to be completely replaced, while two other spans will have to be partially replaced.