County begins settlement negotiations with Skanska

Local News

PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — Escambia County leaders are working to reach a settlement with Skanska over lost revenue from the closure of the Pensacola Bay Bridge.

The negotiations are still in the early stages, but the county says the bridge has affected more than a dozen revenue streams. It was discussed at the Thursday night county commission meeting.

Skanska’s barges crashed into the bridge during Hurricane Sally, causing it to close down until next year affecting thousands of people who take the bridge every day to go to Gulf Breeze and Pensacola Beach.

Commissioners say a settlement with Skanska needs to include money to cover increased personnel they’ve had to send to Pensacola Beach, which includes Emergency Medical Services.

“You know, it was damage caused by their barges to our bridge and of course we have a direct expense related to not having quick access for public service,” District 4 Commissioner Robert Bender said.

Commissioners also agree a deal should include $15 million to replace the damaged adjacent fishing pier. Skanska would like to remove it soon to speed up the bridge repairs but another pier will be built later.

“We don’t want them or their contractor to be able to say that we are delayed or we are going to be unable to meet our timeline because of access to… because of the encumbrance having the pier next to us,” Commission Chairman Steven Barry said.

The commission is expected to give more information about the settlement in a meeting later this month.

FDOT still says the bridge will reopen by early March.

There are lawsuits being filed against Skanska by many homeowners who had barges wash up on their property as well as business owners who are being affected by the bridge closure.

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