PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — Struggling businesses are looking forward to getting back to normal once the Pensacola Bay Bridge reopens within the next few days.
At Salvation Strength and Performance, it’s time to get beach-ready and now, it’ll be easier and faster to get to the beach once the “Three Mile Bridge” is open again.
“We’re excited to have that back opened up and hopefully get that traffic back through here and get eyes on what we’re doing again here,” Owner Brad Hammac said.
Hammac is one of many business owners struggling, and he chose his location on Gregory Street a few years ago because of the heavy traffic in the area.
“We got this location because of a lot of the traffic and what we would be seeing on a daily basis driving by,” he said.
Before loose barges damaged the bridge during Hurricane Sally in September, thousands of people passed by his business.
“With the bridge being down, it has been kind of a ghost town,” Hammac said.
Initially, the bridge will partly be two lanes. You can exit onto 17th Avenue but can only enter the bridge from Bayfront Parkway.
At Pensacola Beach, they’re expecting a huge kickoff to the summer with several large events including the annual LGBTQ+ Pride weekend bringing in thousands of people.
“I think it’s going to be something that people aren’t expecting,” said Edwin Vega, executive chef at Red Fish Blue Fish. “We’re going to have big numbers this weekend.”
“We are expecting a larger turnout on Pensacola Beach this year than even 2019 pre-pandemic,” said Scott Ford, director of marketing for Innisfree Hotels. “The numbers are really trending upward. People want a beach vacation.”
The Florida Department of Transportation isn’t giving an exact opening date for the bridge but some local officials say it’ll likely reopen before Memorial Day.