Escambia County officials will make an effort to alleviate potential traffic snares during the Blue Angels’ practice season. The U.S. Navy flight team practices at the National Naval Aviation Museum located on Naval Air Station Pensacola, and the air shows can create issues along Gulf Beach Highway.
According to a statement, officials from both Escambia County, as well as the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office met with representatives of the Navy April 25 in order to discuss the issue of air show traffic and possible remedies.
Escambia County Commissioner Doug Underhill noted that the county was committed to working to accommodate the flight squad.
“We understand how critical the U.S. Navy is to the fabric of our county,” he said in the statement. “Good leadership is working together to solve problems, and I greatly appreciate the continued teamwork of the Navy and sheriff’s office. These are partners we can always count on to look for solutions to better Escambia.”
The county is employing three measures to address traffic concerns:
First, starting next week during practice days, an Escambia County Sheriff’s Deputy will be stationed just south of the intersection of Perdido Key Blvd/Sorrento Road and Innerarity Point/Gulf Beach Highway to help reroute Blue Angel practice-related traffic coming from the Perdido Key area to Sorrento Road and then south on Blue Angel Parkway, leaving Gulf Beach Highway open to local traffic. Air show attendees traveling from the eastern and northern parts of the county are also asked to merge on to Blue Angel Parkway at the most northern point possible. Variable message boards will also be placed in the area notifying drivers of the change.
Secondly, traffic signal timing will be adjusted during these peak periods to more effectively move traffic to the West Gate of NAS Pensacola.
In addition, parking on the rights of way in many portions of Old Gulf Beach Highway and Blue Angel Parkway will no longer be permissible for safety and security. Signs will be installed.