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3 mile bridge contruction plans are in final stages


Plans to replace the 3 mile bridge between Gulf Breeze and Pensacola are nearing the final stages.
June 10th, the Florida Department of Transportation hosted a meeting to present the two preferred paths a new bridge could take.
It's the culmination of three years of study.

Right now, the 54 year old bridge is considered "structurally deficient," but still sees an average of 55,000 cars a day.
DOT expects traffic to increase to 67,000 a day by 2040.

Engineers plan to have 6 lanes of traffic in the new bridge, with 3 lanes going in each direction.
Just last month the President specifically mentioned the bridge as one of the projects he wants to see fast-tracked.

The total is estimated at about 650 million dollars and the new span would take an estimated 5 years to complete.

The new Pensacola Bay Bridge will have a new look. Not only will it have more lanes, but also under consideration, it will have added pedestrian walkways and bike lanes. As well as a flyover.

This is a main artery of traffic in Northwest Florida.
Trish Kuhnell of Pensacola doesn't just drive it everyday, she bikes it often.
She and her cycling club have a lot at stake at the new bridge.

"My concern really, as a cyclist is how we're going to get back and forth safely."

The Florida Department of Transportation hopes to finalize the plans by the end of the year and construction is expected to start 2017.

The end of the meeting marks the beginning of a ten day public comment period about the plans.
Written comments must be received or postmarked no later than June 20, 2014.

You can send them to the address on your screen.

After that, all comments will be evaluated, and the project documents will be given to the "federal highway administration" for review and approval.

And all the documents presented at tonight's meeting are available online at pensacolabaybridge.com.