‘Iconic’ Hart Bridge under weeks-long routine inspection

FDOT officials describe top-to-bottom inspection process

News4JAX reporter Zac Lashway had the chance to talk with engineers with FDOT about their routine inspection of the Hart Bridge.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Hart Bridge, somewhat affectionately known as the Green Monster to those who run across it during the annual Gate River Run, cost $8.8 million to build in 1967.

In the late 1990s, it was one of the longest cantilever bridges in the world.

On Saturday, engineers with the Florida Department of Transportation were out examining the bridge, a process that can take up to four weeks.

“We have a really robust bridge maintenance program,” FDOT spokesman Hampton Ray said. “We do inspect this structure every two years, and it’s an iconic piece of infrastructure for our city.”

Ray described the top-to-bottom inspection process.

“We have folks with cameras, measuring tape, they are literally taking within two feet, any crack, deficiency they see, they are taking it and jotting it down, tracking it over the long term and protect this structure,” Ray said.

Ross Hammock, district structures maintenance engineer with FDOT explains what happens next.

“If anything was found, we would make repairs, whether it was minor to hopefully not severe. If something severe was found, we would shut it down, make that repair, and would not open it back up until it was safe,” Hammock said.

Hammock said the key with a truss bridge like the Hart is protecting the steel over time.

“Keep it painted so it doesn’t rust,” he said.

The focus Saturday was on the bridge’s deck. In a few weeks, inspectors will examine the bridge’s cables.

Hammock said not to worry -- the inspections don’t mean the bridge needs to close.

“Rest assured it is safe to travel on,” Hammock said. “This is what we do. We do it every two years -- a routine inspection to make sure the bridge stays safe and for people to travel it over safely.”

FDOT says this inspection is routine and has nothing to do with a recent incident on the Buckman Bridge that led to an hours-long shutdown and an emergency repair.

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