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Mathews Bridge May Partially Reopen In Two Weeks

Kevin Meerschaert

Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Ananth Prasad says with a little luck the Mathews Bridge could partially reopen in two weeks.

Prasad was in Jacksonville on Tuesday to give an update on bridge repairs.  He says Jacksonville-based Superior Construction has been awarded a contract to make the bridge repairs. The total costs including inspections and possible traffic management will be about $3 million.

Prasad says due to the damage the Mathews can't safely hold any weight. He says emergency repairs will begin on Wednesday. Once those are complete, equipment will be able to sit on the bridge as permanent repairs are made.

Prasad says after the emergency repairs are made they are optimistic a partial opening can occur with the bridge open to westbound traffic from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m and eastbound traffic from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. The bridge will remain closed overnight.

The contract with Superior is for 40 days and includes a $50,000 a day incentive for finishing early. Prasad says they hope to have the repairs completed in time for the Florida-Georgia game.

Word the bridge might reopen soon was good news at the McDonalds at University and the Arlington Expressway where management says businesses has been down around 10 to 15 percent since the bridge has been closed.                            

Kevin Meerschaert has left WJCT for new pursuits. He was the producer of First Coast Connect until October of 2018.