In February 2020, construction of the new bridge was complete with only the pedestrian portion to be completed with the old bridge being dismantled to make way for the parallel bridge to begin construction. However, just months later during Hurricane Sally on September 15-16, 2020, a barge got stuck under the bridge before a crane fell onto one span of the bridge; this knocked almost the entire span into Pensacola Bay, rendering the bridge completely unusable
The bridge was also knocked out for months in 1989 by a barge that hit a piling doing enough damage to render it unsafe for passage. At that time ferry boats were used to transport vehicles and People across the bay but the majority of the traffic was diverted to I-10 to Garcon Point which made the normal 15 minute trip from Downtown Pensacola to Gulf Breeze close to one hour.
Class action lawsuit
As with any major disaster You might expect lawsuits to be filed. One of the first to go after the barge owner is the law group, Levin Papantonio as reported by WEARTV
The company that was supposed to strengthen NWFL’s connectivity has destroyed it. Skanska USA’s barges have battered our shores and the company has jeopardized the safety and economy of Northwest Florida. We are committed to finding a way to make things right so we can rebuild. pic.twitter.com/OkCXe6APeK— Levin Papantonio Rafferty (@LevinPapantonio) September 18, 2020
Maritime attorney John Merting has written a letter to FDOT and Sen. Doug Broxson urging them to put a possessory maritime lean on all 22 of the Skanska barges that broke free during Hurricane Sally. https://t.co/F3MxSTVRL4— WEAR ABC 3 (@weartv) September 24, 2020
The Pensacola law firm Aylstock, Witkin, Kreitz and Overholtz is calling on people who believe they are victims of the runaway barges from the contractor of the Three Mile Bridge, Skanska USA. https://t.co/nFduKCDN5R— WEAR ABC 3 (@weartv) September 24, 2020
Escambia County residents are left searching for answers after the latest disaster declaration left out communities and individual assistance for people affected by Hurricane Sally. Channel 3's @TannerStewartTV spoke with just a few of those residents — https://t.co/mqeuBtqRt8 pic.twitter.com/rJliogVxl8— WEAR ABC 3 (@weartv) September 25, 2020