The new Pensacola Bay Bridge is one of dozens of roadway casualties to Hurricane Sally, which made landfall September 15 near Gulf Shores, Alabama.
The bridge on U.S. 98 between Pensacola and Gulf Breeze, Florida, known as the Three Mile Bridge, has been damaged in several locations, according to the Florida Department of Transportation. FDOT says it will not be able to determine the extent of the damage until weather conditions become safe.
Reports indicate multiple barges broke loose and hit the bridge September 15, and a piece of the bridge is missing. The bridge opened last year as part of a $430 million replacement project. A multi-use path recently opened on the new eastbound bridge. Work has been occurring on the future westbound bridge, where some of the barges were located.
Another barge has struck Garcon Point Bridge, which is now closed, according to Santa Rosa County Emergency Management. The two-lane toll bridge on S.R. 281 connects to U.S. 98 east of Gulf Breeze.
Roads flooded, blocked
Meanwhile, dozens of roadways and bridges are damaged, flooded or blocked by debris in coastal Alabama and in Florida, as of 2:30 p.m. September 16. Flooding was caused by heavy rain as well as storm surge. Closures include Interstate 10 at the Alabama-Florida state line, due to flooding.
Law enforcement officers are also getting multiple reports of vehicles stranded on flooded roads.
Baldwin EMC, an electric distribution co-operative for Baldwin County, Alabama, reported extensive, long-term outages for its service area. It reported 95 percent of its meters without power on the morning of September 16 and said it was still too dangerous for crews to go out.
“We don’t want to sugar coat this; we are in it for the long haul,” the co-op tweeted.
“We have lots of power lines down and broken poles across our service area,” it said in another tweet.
The Baldwin County Emergency Management Agency, which covers the Gulf Shores area, reported major to catastrophic flooding was occurring, impacting many areas and roads, as well as severe widespread damage.
In Florida, the DOT gave the following road report September 16:
- Business U.S. 98 near Arizona Chemical Company is closed due to flooding.
- State Road (S.R.) 390 from New York Avenue to Mowat School Road closed due to flooding.
- U.S. 98 in Port St. Joe between Avenue D and Avenue A is closed due to flooding.
- Pensacola International Airport has suspended operations for all arriving and departing commercial aircraft.
- I-10 is closed from the Alabama-Florida state line through the Escambia Bay Bridge due to flooding.
- The Pensacola Bay Bridge on U.S. 98 is closed to all traffic.
- The Escambia Bay Bridge on I-10 is closed due to high winds.
- The Theo Baars Bridge (S.R.292/Gulf Beach Parkway) is closed due to high winds.
- R. 292 at Mirella Street is closed due to flooding.
- The U.S. 98 bridge over Perdido Bay is closed due to high winds.
- S. 98 is closed at Paradise Lane due to flooding.
- S. 98 from North 13th Avenue to Baybridge Drive is closed due to flooding.
- R. 196 at Romana Street is closed due to flooding.
- S. 98 from Calhoun Avenue to Marler Street is closed due to flooding.
- S. 98 in Destin from Regatta Bay Boulevard to Gulfstarr Drive is closed due to flooding.