US 90 Alt.
(four general purpose lanes)
|Crosses||St. Johns River|
|Official name||John E. Mathews Bridge|
|Maintained by||Florida Department of Transportation|
|Design||Steel cantilever bridge|
|Total length||2248.2 meters (7736 feet)|
|Width||17.7 meters (58 feet)|
|Longest span||246.9 meters (810 feet)|
|Clearance above||6.80 meters (22.3 feet)|
|Clearance below||46.3 meters (152 feet)|
|Opened||April 15, 1953|
The Mathews Bridge is a cantilever bridge in Jacksonville, Florida, which spans the St. Johns River. Constructed in 1953, the bridge brings traffic along the Arlington Expressway between downtown Jacksonville and the Arlington neighborhood. It was named after John E. Mathews, a Florida state legislator and Chief Justice of the 1955 Florida Supreme Court who helped gather funding for the bridge's construction. Originally silver in color, the bridge was painted maroon in 1984 in celebration of Jacksonville's United States Football League franchise, the Jacksonville Bulls.
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.
2013 ship impact
In the early afternoon on September 26, 2013, the Military Sealift Command ship USNS 1st. Lt. Harry L. Martin allided with the center span of the Mathews 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.
Part of the reason of the accident was because the charted height of the bridge was incorrect. The bridge owners (Florida Department of Transportation) notified the Coast Guard that the bridge was surveyed and the new height was 146 feet. This new measurement is 6 feet lower than the previously published height.
No notification of the vessels' height has been published by the Navy, but local news articles report that FDOT has evidence that the vessels' height was also 5 1/2 feet taller than its plans indicated.
The bridge is mentioned in the Limp Bizkit song My Generation. In the vocalist Fred Durst's opening monologue, he invites drummer John Otto to "Take 'em to the Mathews Bridge", preceding the latter's drum solo.
- "Traffic alert: Jacksonville's Mathews Bridge shut down after a ship hit it". The Florida Times-Union. Jacksonville, FL: Jacksonville.com. September 26, 2013. Retrieved 2013-09-26.
- Rakow, Erika (October 29, 2013). "Mathews Bridge returns to service". WJXT. Jacksonville, FL. Retrieved 2013-10-29.