The Matthews Bridge celebrated its 60th Anniversary Saturday with a rededication ceremony at the foot of the bridge in Arlington.
Although tens-of-thousands of vehicles cross the Matthews Bridge every day, it’s unusual to see groups of people walking across it. But that’s exactly what you would have seen Saturday morning after Old Arlington, Inc. president Steve Matchett wrapped up the ceremony.
"When the ribbon is cut, that's your signal that you can walk onto the bridge."
Among the 50 or so people who took advantage of the opportunity was Jacksonville City Councilman Johnny Gaffney, whose district the bridge falls under. Getting to stand at the top of the bridge and look out across the city, Gaffney says, has made him appreciate Jacksonville all the more.
"We drive every day and we come across this bridge and, for one, you take for granted how big this bridge is, how long it is until you walk it. And how beautiful our city is."
Accompanying Gaffney on his stroll over the Matthews Bridge was City Council President Bill Bishop.
"It's a really cool bridge," says Bishop. "I mean, I love big construction like this. It's just a neat structure. In and of itself, it's a fascinating piece of engineering. And it's just a really cool structure. It adds a lot to the city, visually."
While everyone else came prepared to walk across the span, Robert Anderson came with his bicycle.
"I've got to admit, I'm a transplant, so it was here when I got here," Anderson says. "But I've always been able to get around. Always been able to do what I want to do 'cause this is the bridge I cross."
Organizers of the Matthews Bridge rededication ceremony say they hope to make the anniversary an annual celebration.