What's causing continuous closures of Main Street Bridge?

Downtown bridge to close this weekend, nightly next week

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Main Street Bridge in downtown Jacksonville will be closed again this weekend as well as nightly next week, the Florida Department of Transportation said Thursday.

It's one of the most iconic bridges in Jacksonville, but for nearly a year, the Main Street Bridge has been a topic of conversation for another reason: the inconvenient closures. 

The Main Street Bridge will be closed from 6:30 p.m. on Friday, June 23, to 6 a.m. on Sunday, June 25.

The bridge will also be closed again on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday nights -- June 26, 27, 29 and 30 -- from 6:30 p.m. until 6 a.m. and on Wednesday night, June 28, from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m.

Both drivers and pedestrians will be detoured to the Acosta Bridge. There will be signs in place to direct traffic through the detour.

The announcement of more scheduled closures has many people asking what's going on that's causing the closures.

Crews have been working on the bridge since the fall and though drivers may not see much improvement, FDOT said it is happening.

According to FDOT, the closures are part of improvements to the mechanical, electrical and structural systems.

"This weekend, actually, we're doing the wire that is used to lift the bridge up itself. It will be stretched and coiled onto a new spool, essentially, so the bridge can operate smoother," Hampton Ray, FDOT public information officer, told News4Jax on Thursday.

The Main Street Bridge will remain in the down position from 6:30 p.m. on June 26 until 6:45 a.m. on June 28, and on June 28, 29 and 30 from 6:30 p.m. to 6:45 a.m. 

Vessels are encouraged to check the Local Notice to Mariners from the United States Coast Guard for additional information. Boaters will be unable to request a bridge opening during this time, but the channel will remain open to smaller boats. The channel restrictions are necessary for crews to install a new wire rope that is used to raise and lower the movable bridge.

The improvements to the Main Street Bridge include the replacement of several major mechanical components, replacement of the entire electrical control system, replacement of the traffic gates, sidewalk gates, lightning protection system and closed-circuit television cameras that give operators live views of traffic conditions. The work will include new heating and air conditioning units, water and sanitary sewer lines and floor tile for the control house.

The $10.7 million project is expected to be completed in the fall.

"The Main Street Bridge is an iconic structure, something that whenever you see a postcard of Jacksonville, you always see the Main Street Bridge," Ray said. "The bridge is, quite frankly, it's old. It was built in the 1940s and we want to make sure the bridge lasts a very long time."

The Main Street Bridge is one of only two vertical lift bridges in the state of Florida and is raised and lowered approximately 1,400 times a year.