Roads

@MUUAH_MARY / Twitter

The Mathews Bridge made waves on Twitter after being struck by a ship this afternoon.

The bridge is currently closed indefinitely. The closure, shortly before rush hour, created one of the worst traffic snags in recent history.

Here are some of the things people were posting and sharing via social before, immediately following, and after the bridge was struck and closed:

News4Jax / WJXT

(UPDATED 7 P.M.)

The Florida Department of Transportation has issued an advisory that Jacksonville's Mathews Bridge is closed indefinitely following a closure earlier today after a ship struck the span. 

According to our news partner News4Jax, the vessel was in tow when it hit the bridge, causing visible damage to its structure.

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Esther Ohayon was killed and her daughter was injured as they crossed San Jose Boulevard last week on their way to the Etz Chaim Synagogue.

The accident isn’t the first on the busy road. In 2009 a six-year-old was struck and killed just blocks away by the same driver.

Welcome to WJCT First Read (T.G.I.F. edition), 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.

Laurie Sanderson / FDOT

After more than three years of construction, the northbound lanes of State Road 9B from Phillips Highway (U.S. 1) to the I-295 East Beltway opened to travelers this morning and southbound lanes scheduled to open later tonight.

According to a release, the road will initially be opened as a four-lane limited access highway, similar to an interstate. The section opened today has the ability to expand to six lanes in the future with minimal disruption to the public.

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.

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The driver who struck two on San Jose Blvd. last week, killing one, is the same man who killed a six-year old only blocks away in 2009.

WJCT news partner News4Jax reports this afternoon the Florida Highway patrol confirmed 66-year-old Michael Fortunato was driving the Toyota Camry that struck 57-year-old Esther Ohayon and her 16-year-old daughter Orly as they were walking to Yom Kippur services at the Etz Chaim Synagogue Friday evening.

Fortunato hit and killed six-year-old Kaitlyn Springer as she crossed San Jose Blvd. at Kori Rd. with her mother and brother in December of 2009. He wasn't cited because the traffic light turned green before the three were able to get across the highway.

It's not known if Fortunato had the light Friday night. He told police he didn't see the two in the crosswalk until it was too late to stop. Fortunato was driving on an expired license.

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.

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Whether it's durable construction, attentive maintenance or just a fortunate geography that doesn't include the freeze and frost-filled winters of the northeast, Florida's bridges continue to be among of the sturdiest in the nation.

On Saturday, August 16, a group of friends and supporters gathered for a "Cyclist Respect Rally" on the bike lane of 16th Street near the intersection with Jefferson Avenue in Miami Beach.

Along the street, they stood in a line between the car lane and the bike lane to create a human barrier where event coordinator Jessica Hunter was hit by a car earlier this month.

SunPass Now Available In Rest Area Vending Machines

Aug 13, 2013

Those planning a trip on Florida's major highways have a new way to sign up for the state's electronic toll system.

SunPass can now be purchased at the vending machines at three Official Florida Welcome Centers and an Interstate 4 rest area.

According to a release from Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise, the turnpike is offering SunPass transponders in vending machines through a partnership with VISIT FLORIDA, the state's official tourism marketing corporation.

SunPass is currently available for sale in vending machines at the following locations:

More Traffic Information Signs Coming To First Coast

Jul 26, 2013
Kevin Meerschaert

 

All they do now is flash “F-DOT test message,” but electronic signs recently erected along roads in the area will soon go online.

The state is funding the signs through The North Florida Transportation Planning Organization.

They will let drivers know about problems ahead on the roads like accidents, congestion and construction zones.

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