As Pensacola residents are aware, the Pensacola Bay Bridge was built in 1960 and deemed structurally inefficient recently by engineers. After a long development and negotiation process, the new Pensacola Bay Bridge is scheduled to be completed in 2020. The $400 million bridge will have two three-lane sections for northbound and southbound travel, as well as paths for bicyclists and pedestrians.

While this all sounds great, constructing a bridge is no small feat. There are many risks involved with building a bridge, especially an expansive one like the Pensacola Bay Bridge. For example, a bridge recently collapsed in Sweden while it was under construction. Details are sparse, but what is known is that 12 people were injured in the bridge collapse. Four of the injured suffer harm that was deemed “serious.”

Bridges are complex structures, and their construction is a convoluted and difficult process. Those that work on the project will be at risk of an accident at all times during the construction. Heights, powerful equipment, dangerous materials, inadequate training — all of these things could cause serious accidents during bridge construction. And to tie it back to ships: a bridge could be struck by an errant or improperly operated ship, or the bridge may cause unforeseen problems for shipping lanes and water vessels.

Hopefully the Pensacola Bay Bridge construction project is completed in a timely and safe manner with no complications. However, it is important for everyone to keep the risks associated with bridge construction in mind during these next three years.

Source: Pensacola News Journal, “Pensacola Bay Bridge designers share updated plans with public,” Melissa Nelson Gabriel, March 21, 2017