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The Bridges of Downtown Jacksonville

Connecting the city for travel and commerce, they create an an urban environment that is unique in the Southeast. They are the six bridges of downtown Jacksonville.

Published May 17, 2013 in Neighborhoods      13 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


2. St. Elmo Acosta Bridge


Image courtesy of the State Archives of Florida.

Constructed in 1921, the original Acosta Bridge was the first automobile and only streetcar crossing over the St. Johns.  It was also the first vertical lift bridge in the state and the first in the Southeast to use a pneumatic process for the placement of its caissons.  Originally known as the St. Johns River Bridge, the "Yellow Monster" was eventually named for City Councilman St. Elmo W. Acosta, who convinced voters to approve the bond issue to build the bridge. The old bridge was originally called the St. Johns River Bridge.  Tolls were charged until 1940, earning more than $4 million for the city.


Image courtesy of State Archives of Florida.

Due to high maintenance costs and increased traffic flow, it came down in the 1990's to make way for the Acosta Bridge we know today.  The current 1,645 foot long Acosta Bridge opened to traffic in 1993.  It carries six lanes of vehicular traffic and the two-track Skyway Express in the center.  The longest span is 630 feet in length and it has a clearance of 75 feet.









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13 Comments

dougskiles

May 17, 2013, 05:28:04 AM
These bridges are our mountains (and great for exercise).  I wish we could find a way to create pedestrian & bike access on the Hart Bridge.

Noone

May 17, 2013, 06:12:40 AM
^And a River that is a vibrancy all it's own that flows below them. 24/7 A Downtown Destination that you want to share with everyone. Another great tour Ennis. Thank you.

InnerCityPressure

May 17, 2013, 07:01:28 AM
Beautiful.  The bridge scenery is one of the things that made me buy into Jacksonville.

It would be great if we could get better connectivity between North and South banks via the Main Street bridge.  Chattanooga has a popular pedestrian bridge (Walnut St. Bridge) that connects their two shores wonderfully.  Would it be crazy to shut down the Main Street bridge to traffic once a month on a Friday night and program around that?

Overstreet

May 17, 2013, 08:08:04 AM
The old Acosta used to shake when traffic was on it. I stopped once with the front of the truck on one side of the expansion joint and the rear on the other. The truck did a little dance with all the bridge movement. It was the only bridge that stayed open during the snow storm December 1989.  Fortunately we don't have many of those one day storms so shut downs are not too bad. The new Acosta will not have the traffic delays of the lift spans. But it will shut down if we ever have ice again.

The railroad bridge is riveted together. You won't see any of that construction any more. It also has strippers that live around the foundations. I've just not been able to coax them out. Current is usually a beast.

Keith-N-Jax

May 17, 2013, 06:04:55 PM
Jacksonville bridges are awesome, best views IMO are from the Hart bridge.

Fallen Buckeye

May 17, 2013, 09:46:27 PM
The railroad bridge is riveted together. You won't see any of that construction any more. It also has strippers that live around the foundations. I've just not been able to coax them out. Current is usually a beast.

Strippers or stripers? Crucial difference. ;)

Jaxson

May 17, 2013, 10:10:46 PM
Beautiful pictures!  I remember driving across the old Acosta Bridge shortly before they closed it for good.

carpnter

May 17, 2013, 10:13:21 PM
The old Acosta used to shake when traffic was on it. I stopped once with the front of the truck on one side of the expansion joint and the rear on the other. The truck did a little dance with all the bridge movement. It was the only bridge that stayed open during the snow storm December 1989.  Fortunately we don't have many of those one day storms so shut downs are not too bad. The new Acosta will not have the traffic delays of the lift spans. But it will shut down if we ever have ice again.

The railroad bridge is riveted together. You won't see any of that construction any more. It also has strippers that live around the foundations. I've just not been able to coax them out. Current is usually a beast.

I had to cross that bridge going home during that 1989 storm.  I had to go from Baymeadows out to the Dinsmore area.  It took something like 3 hours to get home.  Ended up crossing the Bridge and taking US1 all the way out because I didn't want to chance trying to cross the I-95 bridge at Trout River.

Ocklawaha

May 19, 2013, 06:44:05 PM
The 'other' missed opportunity was when Mayor Jake Godbold announced the new Acosta bridge and we were promised that the center span of the historic old bridge would be placed in a park. This would have made for an interesting and historic exhibit only somewhere along the way, someone decided it should be buried at sea. WHAT A PISSER!

Timkin

May 21, 2013, 12:45:49 PM
^ Indeed.  powers that have been , and present , still do not have proper regard for structures of days gone by.  Lets fill our Oceans and landfills with them instead.  Brilliant. Just brilliant.

Charles Hunter

May 21, 2013, 02:07:17 PM
Good thing no one from this program saw and reported anyone taking pictures of the bridges:
iWatch: http://www.iwatchjax.com/
The brochure mentions "bridges" as something to watch.

FSBA

May 22, 2013, 06:20:47 PM
Good thing no one from this program saw and reported anyone taking pictures of the bridges:
iWatch: http://www.iwatchjax.com/
The brochure mentions "bridges" as something to watch.

theduvalprogressive

September 14, 2013, 04:34:56 PM
I never thought getting rid of the old Acosta Bridge was a very good idea.
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