While Pensacola Bay Bridge contractor Skanska USA was not prepared for Hurricane Sally’s winds and waves, this time they have made preparations for a hurricane-sized impact.
Barges from the contractor broke free Sept. 15 damaging property and smashing sections of the bay bridge after the storm’s track took a late eastern turn and intensification. According to Skanska, the barges had been secured against 35 mile-per-hour winds, not a hurricane.
With Tropical Storm Delta keeping the western Panhandle in the cone of probability, the company is not taking any chances according to a statement Monday.
“Given the storm’s projected path at this time, and out of an abundance of caution, we are preparing our project site and equipment for a potential hurricane-force impact should landfall occur in or near Pensacola,” the statement reads.
The company also stated they have retrieved 12 of the 23 barges that broke free during Sally. Three of those barges remain on or under the Pensacola Bay Bridge, according to Ian Satter, Public Information Officer for Florida Department of Transportation.
“The contractor has prioritized the removal of the barges and will work closely with FDOT to ensure the least amount of additional damage possible to the bridge in this effort,” Satter wrote in an email.
Neither FDOT nor Skanska answered whether barges still not retrieved are anticipated to cause further damages. During Hurricane Sally, barges damaged the Garcon Point Bridge and threatened to impact the I-10 bridge from Escambia County.