This 12.9 million dollar project replaced the existing open grate bridge deck previously on Mathews Bridge with an "Exodermic Deck" resulting in a concrete riding surface.
The bridge had a notoriously problematic grating in the center span. After the previous grating wore out, a new one was installed, causing drivers to complain that the replacement was slippery and difficult to cross. That grating was replaced with a new, "state of the art" grating, which also provoked controversy causing citizens to pressure the Jacksonville City Council to act again concerning the grating. This initially only resulted in reducing the speed limit and roughing up the grating. In 2007, the bridge underwent construction to replace the open grating over the center span with a concrete riding surface, and has since been reopened for public use.
In the early afternoon on September 26, 2013, the Military Sealift Command ship USNS 1st. Lt. Harry L. Martinallided with the center span of the Matthews Bridge. The damage caused to the bridge was sufficient that it was closed indefinitely until it could be inspected and repaired. Following repairs, the Mathews Bridge reopened in the early morning of October 29, 2013.
The bridge is mentioned in the Limp Bizkit song My Generation. In singer Fred Durst's opening monologue, he invites drummer John Otto to "Take 'em to the Mathews Bridge", preceding the latter's drum solo.