The Bridges of Downtown Jacksonville

May 17, 2013 13 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

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.

4. John E. Mathews Bridge

The Mathews Bridge under construction. Built between 1951 and 1953, it was dedicated to Judge Mathews who had advocated building the bridge since the early 1930s. Courtesy of the State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory,

For many years, the Matthews was considered downtown's most notorious crossing, due to the center span's steel grating.  Named after the state legislator who helped gather its funding, John E. Mathews, the bridge opened in 1953, resulting in the population boom in Arlington while also signaling the leveling off of retail development in downtown. The Mathews stretches 7,736 feet in length with a clearance below of 152 feet, enabling freighters to move to maritime related industries along Commodore's Point.  In 2007, the bridge's dangerous center span grating was replaced with a lightweight concrete surface.

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