March Madness fans find timing of Main Street Bridge closure odd

FDOT: Looming deadline to get maintenance done as soon as possible

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Main Street Bridge closure during the NCAA Tournament is causing headaches for some fans.

The bridge has been closed intermittently for several months for construction. As thousands of people were expected to visit the River City for the tournament Saturday night, the timing had some people scratching their heads.

People travel through the area all the time and they said they see the closure and detour signs at the bridge quite often.

But according to the Florida Department of Transportation, there is a looming deadline to complete the maintenance. FDOT said that's one of the reasons why they had to shut down the bridge Saturday.

March Madness fans were out and about Saturday as drivers made their way downtown to the big game. There was just one problem: getting across the Main Street Bridge is a no-go.

Many fans, including Jorge Lugo, said this is an odd time. He found out about the closure as he was making his way to the arena.

"When there's an event like this, a big event that's going on, there's got to be some organization about how people can get here with directional signs telling people how to get here," said Lugo.

Even though it's a headache, the bridge closure is necessary, according to FDOT officials. Ron Tittle, a spokesperson for the department, said the goal is to finish bridge maintenance this spring.

Tittle said workers are doing a lot of mechanical work. He also said the department must keep to the agreed timeframe with the construction company.

"It gets to a point where if we keep asking them to open the bridge and they can't get the work done, then they can come back to FDOT for a claim, for instance," said Tittle.

Tittle said that leading up to this weekend, both the city and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office had been aware of what's going on. In the meantime, fans are asked to use the Hart Bridge or the Acosta.

The Main Street Bridge will open back up at 6 a.m. Sunday. News4Jax asked Mayor Alvin Brown about the bridge closure Saturday. He said it's important to keep up maintenance on the bridge.

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