It’s now completely in the air when drivers expect to cross the Three Mile Bridge again.
Crews have not even been able to fully assess the damage with the boats stuck along the bridge, but it is already clear that the damage is worse than initially perceived – and this is just the beginning of the havoc these barges wreaked.
We know exactly how many boats Skanska USA operated that slipped away during Hurricane Sally that hit the already vibrating Pensacola Bay.
The contractor says they have 55 battleships used to build the new Three Mile Bridge. Of those, 22 were washed ashore and 12 ended up on private property, a Skanka spokesperson said.
Several are hitting bridges like the still open Garcon Point Bridge. The Navy was not even able to stop the escaping boats – one of them collided with the bridge leading to the main gate of the NAS Pensacola. A spokesperson told Channel 3 that there is a crack, but it remains open during the inspection.
Even more destructive, at least two collided with the Three Mile Bridge. FDOT says they know at least five of the 105 bridges cannot be repaired, but Senator Doug Brooksson says things are worse than he initially thought.
“We know there were 30 places that were bombed during the surge,” says Brooksson.
He says the state does not want any quick and temporary reforms.
“This is the FDOT position. They paid $ 500 million for this bridge for it to last 75 years. They will not take any shortcuts to fix this bridge.”
The sandals have also left some homeowners devastated as in Bayshore Dr. A barge is stuck in the backyard of the house, only after taking out the sidewalk and hitting the side of the house.
“The barge not only hit the sidewalk and the harbor, but it also hit the corner of the house and we feel it vacated the house,” says Miriam Breden, the owner of the house.
Breden says they just moved home three weeks ago, and have now lost almost everything to the storm. They feel helpless.
“What we will do at this point, we have no idea. We are still shocked.”
Skanksa USA dispatched a community liaison officer to meet affected homeowners like Miriam on Tuesday afternoon.
“To let them know that we will be their ally to move forward for the safe and effective recovery of these barges as well as a channel to aid the rebuilding process,” says Ross Handler, Skanka’s Community Liaison Officer.
But for the affected homeowners Channel 3 spoke to, the conversation is as helpful as a broken bridge. What they want is a commitment to pay for repairs.
Skanksa has set up an email, firstname.lastname@example.org, wanting people who have suffered damage from any of the sandals to reach out to let them know.
Senator Brooksson says that by the end of the week, the FDOT should have an estimate of how long the repairs will take.