Main Street Bridge construction underway

Work will bring closures, last until spring 2015

By Ashley Mitchem - Reporter, anchor , Christopher Yazbec

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - People who often travel through the city's downtown area might want to start giving themselves extra time.

For the next year, the Florida Department of Transportation will be making safety improvements to the Main Street Bridge.

Lane closures and reductions are expected to affect both drivers and pedestrians during different times of the day.

The Main Street bridge is under construction, and the entryway from Riverplace Boulevard to Main Street is now closed.

That's just the beginning, so get ready for lots of detours.

Starting Monday, drivers will see single-lane closures from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day, and full closures between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., except on Wednesdays and Sundays. The start time on those days is 9 p.m.

The bridge will be entirely shut down from 9 p.m. Fridays until 6 a.m. Sundays for about 25 weekends, including all sidewalks.

Many people who frequent the area were unaware of the project. A message board saying what times the road is closed is blocked by a traffic sign, so that didn't help.

Crystal Williams, who runs the bridge often, didn't know about the project.

"I normally take both sides of the Acosta (Bridge) and both sides of the Main Street," she said. "That is a big inconvenience."

The Florida Department of Transportation says to make the structure more crash-resistant, the bridge will be getting new steel barriers to protect beams on the blue span that connects the north and southbanks. New cables and structural steel work is also expected to be part of the $11.1 million project.

Shaari Blount will be affected because she walks over the Main Street Bridge to work so she doesn't have to pay to park downtown.

"Of course it will be a complete inconvenience 'cause I do work over the bridge. But it will definitely be an inconvenience," she said. "I'll just have to find somewhere else to park."

Construction is expected to wrap up in the spring of 2015.

"I say safety first. So in the long term if it's going to prevent an accident or someone getting hurt, then I say it's worth the inconvenience," Williams said.

The Acosta Bridge will be the primary alternate route for drivers during closures.

The construction will not affect the Gate River Run in March.

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