Skanska asks court to absolve company from liability related to bridge closure

Local News

PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — Skanska USA has filed cases in federal court claiming the company should not be responsible for economic losses from the Three Mile Bridge being closed.

During Hurricane Sally, Skanska’s barges got loose damaging and shutting down the bridge, which is a main artery between several communities including Pensacola, Gulf Breeze and the beaches.

“I think it is completely ridiculous,” Anmarie Wright said.

Wright manages Gulf Breeze Bait & Tackle, an iconic shop that’s been in the community for 40 years.

“It makes me outraged that they’re not doing the right thing by our community,” Wright said. “If you look at their core ethics for their company that they stand behind communities they build in. They do not.”

This reaction comes after Skanska filed five limitation of liability action cases Wednesday night.
“They’re seeking total exoneration from any responsibility for paying a penny to any of the businesses harmed by this bridge outage,” Attorney Sam Geisler said.

Geisler, with Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis & Overholtz PLLC, has filed three dozen complaints against Skanska on behalf of businesses on both sides of the bridge.

“It’s disappointing, it’s frustrating, and we’re just going to go full steam ahead and fight it,” Geisler said.

His colleague, Nathan Bess, is also disappointed by Skanska trying to limit liability.

“It’s preventing businesses from getting back on their feet and for those that were close to collapse, it might be the last straw,” Bess said.

Wright has been calling Skanska regularly since September with this message.

“Be accountable,” she said. “Take care of our community. Make it right.”

If they are unsuccessful in being exonerated, Skanska will seek to limit their liability to the value of the specific barges that struck the bridge.

The bridge is scheduled to reopen to traffic in early March.

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