Another Month Without Scenic Highway

May 19, 2014

Governor Rick Scott surveying Piedmont Rd in Pensacola
Credit Bob Barrett / WUWF News

Travelers in Pensacola will have to forego that drive on Scenic Highway for about another month or so. But WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody reports progress is being made with repairs, at a cost of $1.4 million.

Last month’s flooding decimated the popular route that runs beside Escambia Bay. It crumbled in four places and was closed immediately afterward. Ian Satter at the Florida Department of Transportation says some projects began earlier and others later, but work on all four areas is ongoing.

Two vehicles that fell into a hole in the road during the flooding were removed, and there were no serious injuries reported. Satter says about seven thousand dump truck loads of dirt are going into the 30-foot craters, along with more intricate work on the infrastructure.

“We’re reconstructing whole sections of roadway,” says Satter. “That takes everything from the base of the road; we have to build them from the bottom up.”

Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward says progress is being made in the six-block area surrounding Piedmont Road, which was totally destroyed by flood waters.

“This weekend they finished from Gautt Road, all the way to the east to Summit,” said the Mayor. “The permanent sewer has been finished and utilities underground. And so now they’ll start working from Gautt south to Tronjo.”

The entrances to Piedmont remain blocked, and the Pensacola News Journal reports sections of Scenic highway are off limits to all vehicles. DOT security guards are at the construction sites around the clock.

Forecasters say the weather is expected to be picture-perfect this week, meaning work on the roads can go as scheduled.

There’s no word on when Piedmont Road will be re-opened, and the cost of the repairs are still unknown at this point.

Meanwhile, FEMA Recovery Centers remain open at Brownsville Community Center on West DeSoto Street; Gulf Breeze Recreation Center and Pensacola State College – Milton Campus. Or you can call 1-800-621-FEMA.