PENSACOLA, Fla. (WALA) - Florida Senate President Don Gaetz announced Florida has allocated almost $1 billion in funds for road repairs in Northwest Florida. According to state officials Santa Rosa and Escambia counties will receive about two-thirds of that funding.
According to Gaetz, about $600 million go towards replacing Pensacola Bay Bridge. He said commuters won't be inconvenienced by the construction because the current bridge will continue being used until the new bridge is usable.
Gaetz said the new bridge won't have any tolls. He said it will be paid for entirely by the State of Florida.
"I think the fact that there won't be tolls and the fact the bridge construction will occur without any disruption in traffic flow is a good thing," Gaetz said. "We just need to make sure that we get the cooperation of local governments, which I'm sure we'll have, and get the environmental permitting done. But I expect that dirt will fly within two years."
The Florida Department of Transportation said the Three Mile Bridge has a 50 to 75 year lifespan. It was built in 1960 and endured a lot of punishment during Hurricane Ivan.
FDOT said new bridge will have a 75 year lifespan minimum.
Two lanes will also be added in spots of U.S. 29 and Highway 87. Those projects will begin within three years.
They said renovations to the railroads at the Port of Pensacola, totaling about $2 million, will also be completed.
Lawmakers said they moved up a five year work plan to allocate the funds.
"The state of Florida is convinced that the road to the economic future of our state runs right through here, and that it's important to make those decisions and allocate those resources," Gaetz said.
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