FDOT plans safety review on Buckman Bridge

Safety review planned after fatal bridge accident

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Buckman Bridge meets state and federal standards, but questions are being raised about whether more could be done to improve the safety of the bridge. The safety concerns come after a deadly crash that happened on the bridge last week. 

The crash sent 48-year-old Bill Maddox's Ford pickup truck over the guardrail of the bridge and into the water.

"We take it seriously," said Florida Department of Transportation's Ron Tittle. "And we want to make sure we give it a thorough review and it could take months to do that."

The FDOT told News4Jax Wednesday night that they've received countless calls from the public asking them to address safety concerns on the Buckman Bridge.  

"The Buckman Bridge does meet the highway standard -- the nationwide standard. But is there something that we can do to make it a safer bridge?" said Tittle.  

The Department of Transportation is looking to answer the safety questions about the bridge. 

"We'll do the right thing and we will await the Florida Highway Patrol report. We will draw input from the Federal Highway Administration and we'll draw input from the U.S. Coast Guard and various agencies to look and see what, if anything, can be done," said Tittle. 

The walls on either side of the bridge meet the state standard of being 32 inches high, but now, Tittle explained, engineers will review the height and strength of the Buckman's concrete guardrails, design and speed limit.  

"What types of accidents have we had on the bridge? What was the time of day? How much traffic? What are the factors that come into play with these particular accidents?" Tittle said about the questions and concerns FDOT has about the bridge and the accident that occurred.  

More meetings are set to discuss the concerns of the public. Tittle told News4Jax that the FHP report from last week's crash will be instrumental in how FDOT will move forward. 

"We will use their data to help us in building a process to make sure that we can do it quickly, as soon as we can, and to make sure we can make the right decision moving forward," said Tittle. 

Tittle said it will take months for the FDOT to complete its investigation and get recommendations for the bridge. 

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