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Buckman Bridge To Undergo State Safety Audit

Florida Highway Patrol

Calls for the Florida Department of Transportation to review the safety of Jacksonville’s Buckman Bridge have apparently been heard.The Buckman bridge on I-295 was the scene of a fatal accident one week ago that sent a Ford pick-up truck over the guard rail and into the St. Johns River.

The driver managed to escape from his submerged vehicle and witnesses say he called to bystanders on the bridge to help him before disappearing below the surface. The body of 48-year-old William Maddox was later found about 25 feet from his truck.

Even though the Buckman Bridge met federal standards at the time it was built, Florida DOT spokesperson Ron Tittle says engineers have decided they want to make sure the bridge is safe for today’s vehicles and traffic conditions.

“When we talk about safety, we’re talking about gathering that crash data, the types of crashes that occurred, the locations, the times. How does the bridge function now, how is it operational? What are the speeds on it? How does the speed impact traffic? And how do people change lanes? So all of that needs to be reviewed.”

Tittle says the process will likely take several months.  In the meantime, he says, he’s conducting his own, personal, safety review.

“I’m now looking at maybe I should have some floating devices in my vehicle and if I had some kind of floating device could I have thrown out there. So, from a personal perspective, I’m analyzing that within myself.”

You can follow Cyd Hoskinson on Twitter @cydwjctnews.

Cyd Hoskinson began working at WJCT on Valentine’s Day 2011.