Bridge Work Postponed until Late September

By Dennis, Lawerence | The Florida Times Union, August 25, 1996 | Go to article overview

Bridge Work Postponed until Late September


Dennis, Lawerence, The Florida Times Union


The Ortega River Bridge, the most-opened draw span in Florida,

is getting something of a reprieve on two fronts.

It now appears virtually certain that the 2 1/2-month closing

of the span to vehicular traffic and a projected shutdown

to boat traffic for two periods of two to three days each won't

take place until at least the end of September.

And City Councilman Jim Overton, who represents the Ortega

area, says he isn't going to push placing opening restrictions

for boats on the span.

"This is an issue that is brought up every time there's a

public meeting in my district," Overton said. "I just thought

I'd canvass my constituents to see what they thought of the

idea. It was probably half and half."

The city councilman added that he didn't feel there was a

consensus for restrictions on the 8 1/2-foot clearance bridge,

the busiest of Florida's 117 draw spans with almost 15,000

openings a year.

"I don't see it going anywhere," he said of any opening

restrictions.

In any event, even if the Florida Department of Transportation,

which owns the bridge, decided restrictions were needed, they

would have to be approved by Coast Guard Seventh District

headquarters in Miami. And that office had always taken a dim

view of restrictions on bridge openings in the Jacksonville area

because of interruptions of auto traffic.

It took years and numerous public-comment periods before DOT

and the Jacksonville Transportation Authority were able to win

approval for rushhour restrictions on the downtown Fuller Warren

and Main Street bridges. …

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