The Florida Times-Union

The Acosta Bridge in downtown Jacksonville will once again become a focal point at night as the Jacksonville Transportation Authority prepares to install new LED lighting.


The collapse of a section of Liberty Street in downtown this weekend is brining renewed concern about Jacksonville's roads and bridges. The state of the nation's infrastructure is also an issue in the proposed budget announced by President Obama this week, with the president calling for nearly half  a trillion dollars in transportation construction spending. We look at infrastructure concerns and possible solutions with Rick Mullaney, director of Jacksonville University's Public Policy Institute, and A.G. Gancarski, columnist for Folio Weekly and Florida Politics.

The Fuller Warren Bridge, Matt Shirk and Tim Tebow are in the headlines today.

Bubba73 / Wikimedia Commons

Plans to widen the Fuller Warren Bridge now include other improvements designed to make it more people-friendly. Jacksonville City Councilman Robin Lumb unveiled the revised plans Wednesday afternoon.

Quality Education for All, One Spark and marriage equality are in the headlines today.

Florida Highway Patrol

Calls for the Florida Department of Transportation to review the safety of Jacksonville’s Buckman Bridge have apparently been heard.

Florida Highway Patrol

The safety of the Buckman Bridge has been called into question following Wednesday’s fatal accident that sent a Ford pick-up truck over the guard rail and into the St. Johns River.

Duval teachers, blight and All Aboard Florida are in the headlines today.

City of Jacksonville

The portable road signs telling motorists when they can drive across the Mathews Bridge are gone, and they won’t be coming back.

Michael Dunn, Marissa Alexander, and red light cameras are in the headlines today.

Spigidbe83 / Wikimedia Commons

The Florida Department of Transportation is scheduled to permanently close access from the Main Street Bridge in downtown Jacksonville to Hendricks Avenue starting at 8 p.m. on Monday night, February 3.

Met Park, the Florida governor's race, and juvenile justice are in the headlines today.

Spigidbe83 / Wikimedia Commons

Parts of Jacksonville's Main Street Bridge are slated to be closed at various times for at least the next year.

Bubba73 / Wikimedia Commons

The list of proposed road construction projects for the next five years in the six-county Jacksonville metro-area, will be available for public review tonight.

Florida Department of Transportation spokeswoman Gina Busscher says engineers and planners will be on-hand at the agency's Edison Avenue training center to talk about the projects and answer people's questions.

"It’s called our 'tentative work program,” she said. "Each year FDOT updates its five year transportation plan with projects requested by the public, local government and metropolitan planning organizations."


The Florida Department of Transportation will reopen four lanes of the Mathews Bridge following evening rush hour traffic on Tuesday, Oct. 29.

Mike Goldman / FDOT

State transportation officials say a partial opening of the Mathews Bridge in the coming days is not off the table.

Florida Department of Transportation spokesman Mike Goldman said work is continuing around the clock to repair the span that was damaged last month after being struck by a ship, with the first stage of repairs is nearly complete.

When finished, it will allow the heavy equipment needed to make permanent repairs.

If possible, there will be two lanes of traffic heading into downtown in the mornings and two lanes heading to Arlington in the afternoon.   

@Laceywyndham / Twitter

Emergency repairs on the Mathews Bridge have been ongoing for about a week but it's not yet been determined if the bridge can partially open next week.

Plans are to open two lanes and allow westbound traffic in the morning and eastbound in the afternoon.

Florida Department of Transportation spokesman Mike Goldman says after the emergency repairs are completed they will still need to check if the bridge is safe.

For those of you wondering if the Mathews Bridge is still closed after sustaining major damage from a ship strike last week, there's an app for that!

It actually isn't an app, but the website has gained popularity on social media since it was launched on Tuesday.

The site answers, "YES," in large type and includes a humorous missive about the bridge closure. Examples include, "The ship has hit the span, "Ship happens," and "All signs point to the Fuller Warren."

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

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.

Mike Goldman / FDOT

The United States Coast Guard on Monday released the audio of some of the calls that came in from people who witnessed a ship hit the Mathews Bridge Thursday afternoon.

Listen below:

USNS Harry L. Martin struck the bridge just before rush hour on Thursday. The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the accident.

The head of the Florida Department of Transportation is expected to provide an update on the condition of the bridge later this afternoon.

U.S. Navy

It could be a while before anyone knows exactly how and why a cargo ship hit the Mathews Bridge Thursday afternoon, closing it to traffic indefinitely.

The U.S. Coast Guard is heading up the investigation into the accident. Petty Officer First Class Lauren Jorgensen says officials are in the very earliest stages of figuring out what happened and who’s to blame.

“The drug and alcohol testing has been completed and the investigators have been interviewing the crew to determine who was directly involved and any witnesses that were there," she said.

Mike Goldman / FDOT

A set of official photos released by Florida Department of Transportation spokesman Michael Goldman this morning shows the spot where a cargo ship struck the Mathews Bridge on Thursday afternoon.

Engineers are working on assessing the damage and are expected to file a report later today.

Stephen_Moody / Twitter

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is advising commuters to plan for delays getting to and from work today, hours after the Mathews Bridge was ordered closed indefinitely after being struck by a ship.

"Be patient, be safe, be courteous with each other, and understand that this is a unique situation," said JSO Sgt. Steve Zona at an press conference early this morning outside Everbank Field. 

He also encouraged people to adjust their schedules, to arrive or leave work an hour early, in order to avoid rush hour traffic.

Welcome to WJCT First Read, your daily weekday morning round-up of stories from the First Coast, around Florida, and across the country. We'll also preview some of WJCT's upcoming news programming.

Mathews Bridge construction to continue: The State Department of Transportation says construction on the Mathews Bridge will continue until at least the start of 2014. 

Mathews Bridge Construction To Continue Through 2014

Sep 17, 2013
City of Jacksonville

First Coast commuters can expect construction on the Mathews Bridge to continue at least until the end of the year.  The bridge has been under construction for almost two years.

"Frankly, what's happened is once they started the work, they found repairs that were needed that were not shown in the plans," said Florida Department of Transportation spokesman Mike Goldman.

Corrosion found inside the bridge was one of the main unexpected problems, he said.

So far, structural repairs and painting costs almost $23 million.

Welcome to WJCT First Read, your daily weekday morning round-up of stories from the First Coast, around Florida, and across the country. We'll also preview some of WJCT's upcoming news programming.

Allied Veterans lawyer trial begins: Jacksonville attorney Kelly Mathis, charged as the "mastermind" in the Allied Veterans of the World gambling ring case, goes on trial today.

Jonathan Zander / Wikimedia Commons

Four local businesspeople have a message for downtown Jacksonville — lighten up.

Illuminate Jax is scheduled to present their vision for redesigned lighting of Jacksonville's skyline to the Downtown Council of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce next week.

Margie Seaman, director of commercial real estate services for Sellers Realty Group, had the idea to light up buildings downtown about a year ago.

“We always accuse ourselves of having an inferiority complex,” she said of city residents. “This could be a way to inject true pride.”