A $26 million emergency project to rebuild the damaged Interstate 10 Bridge over Escambia Bay in Pensacola began Thursday.
The two-mile long bridge sustained major damage during Hurricane Ivan’s landfall on September 16 with a total of 58 deck spans destroyed and missing and an additional 32 spans that were left misaligned by the storm surge.
Tommie Speights with the Department of Transportation District Office in Chipley says, “The work will be done in two phases with emphasis on getting the westbound bridge, the least damaged of the parallel structures, back in operation within two and a half weeks with two-way traffic using two lanes.”
The next phase, rebuilding the eastbound bridge, is scheduled to be completed by mid December.
The State DOT hired two contractors who banded together to do the work, Gilbert, Southern and Massman, based in Sunrise, FL. Gilbert Southern is currently under contract with the DOT to build the Cervantes Street Bridge in Pensacola. As an incentive to finish the work quicker, they can receive up to $3.5 million if they complete the job and open the bridge two weeks ahead of schedule.
The project includes moving some of the existing spans on the eastbound bridge to the westbound side and then using sections of a temporary metal bridge decking, called “Acrow” panels to finish the roadway surface. The DOT owns 6,000 linear feet of the “Acrow” panels which will be brought to the work site in 150 individual shipments from locations as far south as Miami.
The work also includes building paved crossovers for traffic on I-10 to be routed from the eastbound direction to the westbound bridge and then back over to eastbound I-10.
Crews have already started working 24 hours a day to complete the reconstruction of the I-10 Bridges.