Ferry service proposed as alternative to congested Garcon Point Bridge

Northwest Florida

PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — A 15-minute drive for some has now changed into an hour-long nightmare in Northwest Florida as the Pensacola Bay Bridge remains shut down.

All traffic has been shifted over to the Garcon Point Bridge meaning those driving between Pensacola and Gulf Breeze are spending much more time in their cars.

“I’ve been in this car too much today,” Julia Turner said as she waited to get on I-10 from Avalon Boulevard in Santa Rosa County.

The City of Pensacola has a ferry landing that was used by the Gulf Islands National Seashore ferries. Those two ferries were damaged and are inoperable after Hurricane Sally. Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson said there’s damage to the landing that needs to be repaired before any ferries can go across Pensacola Bay but the idea is being proposed.

Turner is one person who could benefit from that service. She drives every day between Pensacola and Gulf Breeze and she’s one of thousands sitting in traffic to go over the Garcon Point Bridge.

“I’m glad to have a bridge open..it’s good to have this one at least,” Turner said. “I’m glad they don’t have the toll still because I don’t know if I could actually afford that.”

The toll is suspended until at least October 23rd.

This all comes after construction barges got loose during Hurricane Sally and collided with the Pensacola Bay Bridge shutting it down for what may be several months.

“We have a lot of residents and we have a lot of workers that are just not gonna be able to spend hours and hours in traffic for a long number of months,” Escambia County Administrator Janice Gilley said.

That is why local governments and FDOT are working together to get a ferry service going to get people quickly between Pensacola, Gulf Breeze and Santa Rosa Island.

Mayor Robinson said they’re working on getting their landing fixed.

“We are beginning that process right now trying to get contractors to do it so I think in about two and a half weeks we should have this thing up and running at least ready to receive ships,” Robinson said.

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