A civic group praised FDOT for its work renovating the Mathews Bridge at a celebration commemorating the 60th anniversary of the opening of the river crossing.
On April 13, the Old Arlington, Inc. association honored FDOT and the construction team currently repainting and renovating the bridge which links Arlington to the downtown Jacksonville area.
Originally criticized by some in Duval County as a “bridge to nowhere” when construction began on May 17, 1950, the $11 million structure opened on April 15, 1953 when Arlington was a rural section of Northeast Florida.
FDOT is currently spending about $23 million to repaint and make structural repairs on the Mathews. Old Arlington, Inc. recognized project management and construction personnel and individually thanked FDOT, JEA Construction Engineering Services, Inc., GPI Southeast, Inc., Intech Contracting, and VIA Consulting Services, Inc.
Old Arlington, Inc. commended FDOT for making improvements to the bridge so it can remain a functional part of the transportation corridor from the downtown through Arlington to Jacksonville beaches communities. Members of the association also informally thanked FDOT representatives at the ceremony for the quality of the work being done and successfully carrying out a complex traffic management system which requires regular full and partial closings of the bridge. They were also complimentary of FDOT for replacing a metal grating on the bridge with a new concrete riding surface in 2007.
The project is ahead of schedule. Barring any significant weather delays or unforeseen construction circumstances, the work should be done this summer, several months before contract time ends. The work began in September 2011.
Following the recognition ceremony, the opening ride from 1953 was recreated featuring antique vehicles. Leading the processional was 92-year-old Frances Padgett who rode on a fire truck which was the first vehicle to cross the new bridge.
Pictured Above Frances Padgett was the beauty queen who led the opening parade 60 years ago. She again led the anniversary parade at the age of 92.