Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Old Fuller Warren Bridge Won't Be Eyesore as Pier

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Old Fuller Warren Bridge Won't Be Eyesore as Pier

Article excerpt

Byline: Ronald L. Littlepage

Whether to keep part of the old Fuller Warren Bridge as a pedestrian promenade and fishing pier continues to be a hot topic.

The numerous recent letters to the editor published in this newspaper -- both pro and con -- illustrate that.

I appreciate a lively debate as much as anyone, but the "cons" are wrong on several points.

One complaint is that the old bridge is an eyesore. That was echoed in a resolution passed last month by the Jacksonville Waterways Commission urging the Florida Department of Transportation to tear down the structure.

Well, it is an eyesore now, but if it's converted into a promenade/pier, it won't be.

The debris left over from a previous demolition attempt would be removed. Attractive landscaping would be added. So would lighting. It would be a plus, not a negative, and it would offer a spectacular view of the river and downtown.

Others, including the Waterways Commission, argue that keeping the bridge would create a hazard to navigation.

Once again, no.

The lighting on the promenade/pier would clearly mark it at night. It's also far from the river's main channel. And the old pilings not connected to this part of the bridge -- the real navigational hazards -- would be removed.

How about noise from traffic on the new bridge?

The engineering firm hired by the city to study the feasibility of saving the bridge said in a report issued in April that noise would not be a problem.

If you don't believe that, take a walk on the Northbank Riverwalk and sit on one of the benches in the shade of the Acosta Bridge. Noise isn't a problem there.

As for the concern that debris from the new Fuller Warren Bridge could fall on the promenade/pier, why wasn't that a concern in building the Northbank Riverwalk under the Acosta and Main Street bridges?

In fact, the engineering firm concluded in its report that "nothing was found to indicate that the concept of a fishing/recreational pier at this location would constitute a safety hazard to the public. …

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