With a still-growing list of repairs needed to restore the barge-damaged Pensacola Bay Bridge, the Florida Dept. of Transportation has yet to determine a timeline for completing repairs. But assessments by the agency’s inspectors indicate that impacts from several Skanska-owned construction barges that unmoored during Hurricane Sally not only resulted in five irreparable spans, as previously reported, but at least two more that will require partial replacement.
An undetermined number of beams will also need to be replaced, according to an agency statement.
FDOT adds that barge impacts also rotated four bridge piers, resulting in shifted beam bearings. At least one pier has sustained cracked pilings. The full scope of underwater substructure damage remains unknown, as unfavorable wind and water conditions have limited the work of forensic divers.
Skanska has confirmed that 22 barges broke loose from their moorings during the storm. The vessels were being used for constructing a 3-mile parallel structure under a $430-million design-build bridge replacement program that was scheduled for completion next fall.
Twelve of the barges eventually ran aground on private property. The company has said it “remains dedicated to the safe and prompt retrieval” of the barges and will work with property owners throughout the retrieval and insurance process.
As FDOT’s damage assessments continue, Skanska and design partner WSP are scrambling to implement an expedited repair effort, beginning with demolition of the most severely damaged areas and removal of three barges currently on or lodged beneath the bridge.
WSP has begun developing plans for permanent repairs, while Skanska has stepped up off-site fabrication of new beams and piers to complement its existing inventory of structural replacement parts.