Although classified as structurally deficient, three heavily traveled Duval County bridges are safe to use, according to the Florida Department of Transportation.
Construction already is underway to replace all three: the Overland bridge on Interstate 95 above Hendricks Avenue and several other streets in downtown Jacksonville, the University Boulevard bridge over the Arlington River, and the Sisters Creek bridge on Heckscher Drive, department spokeswoman Laurie Sanderson told the Times-Union on Wednesday.
“It sounds scarier than it is. Structurally deficient means that one of the key bridge elements is deteriorating,” Sanderson said. “However, FDOT monitors any deterioration to ensure the safety of the traveling public.”
The combined construction cost of those three projects totals nearly $214 million.
The department inspects moveable bridges such as the Main Street Bridge every year. Fixed bridges, which are those without moveable parts, are inspected every two years. If there’s an issue that is cause for potential concern, the bridge is inspected more frequently, Sanderson said.
Florida has 259 bridges statewide classified as structurally deficient, according to the 2013 National Bridge Inventory released by the Federal Highway Administration in March. However, that data doesn’t take into consideration the year a bridge was built or rebuilt.
The state has among the fewest structurally deficient bridges nationwide. Of Florida’s 12,070 bridges statewide, 259 or 2 percent are deemed structurally deficient. Data show Florida is ranked at the bottom nationwide – 42nd among the 50 states and District of Columbia – for the number of structurally deficient bridges. In comparison, Pennsylvania is ranked first nationwide with the most structurally deficient bridges at 5,218 or 23 percent, according to the bridge inventory.
Teresa Stepzinski: (904) 359-4075