PENSACOLA, Fla. (ABC News & WTXL) — It's a big day for Pensacola and Gulf Breeze, Fla.
Without notice, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) re-opened the Pensacola Bay Bridge Friday morning, restoring the vital connection between the communities of Gulf Breeze and Pensacola along U.S. 98.
The Pensacola Police Department says the speed limit will be 35 mph.
"The majority of the bridge is open to four lanes of traffic (two in each direction) except for a two-lane, half-mile segment just west of the bridge’s arch while work to complete final repairs continues. The speed limit is temporarily set at 35 mph and emergency refuge areas are available on the bridge" FDOT states.
The bridge was shut down following Hurricane Sally, a category two hurricane, hit the Gulf Coast in September 2020. Several Skanska barges broke loose, FDOT said, shutting down the bridge.
As WEAR has reported, FDOT will continue to withhold payments of $35,000 per day until four lanes of traffic are restored to the entire southbound span of the Pensacola Bay Bridge. FDOT is regularly reviewing the contractor’s schedule of the entire Pensacola Bay Bridge Project with the anticipated completion date for all improvements currently scheduled for January 2022.
FDOT’s Road Ranger Service Patrol will be stationed on each end of the bridge from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. on weekends and major holidays.
At other times, at least one unit will be on-call and available. Law enforcement will also be on sight 24-hours a day on both ends of the bridge to alert drivers about the temporary restrictions.
Tolls will be suspended for the Garcon Point Bridge through June 6. Escambia County Area Transit (ECAT) will soon discontinue service for the Route 61 detour across the Garcon Point Bridge. Normal schedules for Route 61 and Route 64 Beach Jumper will restart. Schedules are located on goecat.com and the ECAT Ride guide.
This story was originally reported by ABC affiliate WEAR in Pensacola.