JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Captain Vic Tison is a regular fixture out on Sisters Creek. A fishing captain, he comes there seven days a week, weather permitting. He knows the beauty of the area and sees the flaws, especially when it comes to the old bridge.
"I've fished under it. I’ve seen all the cracks in it and everything,” said Tison.
Turns out, he’s right. Action News has learned the Sisters Creek drawbridge was just deemed “structurally deficient.” This means the Florida Department of Transportation must either replace or repair it in a reasonable amount of time.
"The bridge is structurally deficient, which means right now it's safe, but whether or not we can make that statement several years from now, we don't know,” said FDOT spokesman Mike Goldman.
So here is the plan: For $52.6 million in federal funds, FDOT will build a new high-rise fixed bridge just north of the current one. The new bridge will be at minimum 65 feet high. When construction on it is complete, they’ll tear the old one down. This, Goldman says, will eliminate the need for a traffic detour and hopefully minimize any headaches for locals.
But not everyone is happy about it.
"I think it sucks. It’s going to destroy the fishing over there,” said Donnie Winters, a local fisherman.
But Tison disagrees. To him, safety comes first.
"I think as old as it is, it needs to be replaced,” said Tison.
According to Goldman, the construction will not impact the Kingfish Tournament. He says crews will not work during the event.
Construction is set to begin in 2015, but could be moved up to as early as next summer if funds become available sooner.