He talked about the traffic tie-ups that occurred on the springtime weekends in 2019 and the efforts Escambia County made to reduce the time necessary for drivers to arrive on the island.
The lanes on Pensacola Beach Blvd. at the north end of the Bob Sikes Bridge were reconfigured, the toll facility accepts cash in only two lanes and the single traffic light in the core area is being monitored on weekends and adjusted in real time to reduce back-ups. All of these fixes, in addition to a few no-toll days, were put in place to ease the long waits for drivers arriving at the Beach.
The County has the ability to monitor and record the time an individual car takes to travel from Fairpoint Drive in Gulf Breeze through the toll facility to the traffic light on Pensacola Beach. The time, which had been as long as 52 minutes during peak weekends, was reduced to 12 minutes using a cashless system. The County documented these reduced times throughout the summer months of 2019.
This data lead the Board of County Commissioners to approve the transition of the Bob Sikes Toll Facility to cashless. The transition will occur after Spring Break and drivers will travel through the toll facility in the two center lanes without stopping.
In addition to SunPass, there are other compatible passes. The County is also acquiring a kiosk so toll invoices can be paid in cash in Pensacola.
An informational campaign will be launched in early March.