AASHTO Journal

Florida Gov. Scott Kicks Off Largest Transportation Project in NW Florida History

In what will be the largest transportation infrastructure project in Northwest Florida history, Gov. Rick Scott said the state is investing $398.5 million in a Pensacola Bay Bridge replacement project.

The new bridge on U.S. 98 will consist of two parallel structures, each with three 12-foot travel lanes, two 10-foot shoulders and a 10-foot multi-use path for pedestrians, joggers and bicyclists. That compares with an existing four-lane bridge built in 1960, which carries about 55,000 vehicles a day.

capitol0816.jpgThe first span of the new structure is expected to open in early 2019. Once that portion is built, the announcement said, authorities will transition four lanes of traffic onto it to allow for demolition of the existing bridge plus completion of the second span in 2020.

Scott attended a kickoff event June 26, and said the project "will help increase safety and efficiency for the many families and visitors that travel through this beautiful community each day, and will also help support the creation of thousands of jobs."

He added that "critical projects like the Pensacola Bay Bridge replacement will help ensure Florida's transportation infrastructure remains a national leader for generations to come."

Mike Dew, Florida Department of Transportation Secretary, said: "We are at a nearly 10-year-low in unemployment and we are seeing 1,000 people move to the state each day. That's why our transportation improvements, like the new Pensacola Bay Bridge, are critical to meeting the challenges of growth."

The project's design-build contractor estimates it will directly employ more than 500 workers to construct the new bridge.

And the announcement said estimates from the University of West Florida's Haas Center for Business Research and Economic Development indicate the project will help create and sustain about 4,200 jobs in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties, along with an additional 600 jobs throughout Florida.

Questions regarding this article may be directed to editor@aashtojournal.org.

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