reopened the Interstate 10 bridge over Escambia Bay east of Pensacola, FL,
freeing truckers from having to take a 130-mile detour.
Roads and bridges were out throughout the
Pensacola, FL, area and other nearby regions beginning Sept. 16, after
Hurricane Ivan blasted through the area, according to reports from Florida and
Alabama officials and media outlets.
Leading the list was the Escambia Bay
bridge, which connects the east side of the city to the rest of the Florida
Panhandle. Photos and video of the bridge break showed the remains of a
tractor-trailer that was damaged when the bridge went out. A portion of the
eastbound lanes – some reports placed it at a quarter mile of pavement – plunged into the bay, while the westbound lanes were damaged.
crossing was reopened Tuesday, Oct. 5, the DOT announced.
“Today we reopen
this vital link in the nation’s highway system,” Gov. Jeb Bush said in a
statement. “Nearly 8,000 trucks a day travel on this roadway. Getting commerce
moving again will help restore a sense of normalcy to the people in this
Gilbert Southern of Nebraska and Massman Construction of Missouri
received a $26.4 million contract from Florida to fix the bridge just days
after the storm passed. Workers drove 28 new piles to support the roadway.
“The loss of I-10
caused trucks to detour more than 130 miles out of their way,” FDOT Secretary
José Abreu said. “Time is money. That’s why we offer bonus clauses in our
contracts to get the job done as soon as possible.
“It looked like it
could have taken months to reopen. But thanks to both FDOT staff and the
contractor’s team working around the clock, these temporary repairs were
complete in just 17 days.”
Now state officials and construction firms are moving on to
Phase 2, in which workers will repair the eastbound bridge using the existing
spans and Acrow panel bridges – prefabricated modular steel bridges. That
repair is expected to be complete in 90 days.
However, all the work just finished and in Phase 2 is
temporary. Florida DOT officials say because of the extensive damage caused by
the hurricane, a new, permanent replacement bridge will have to be built across