JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The countdown is on for EverBank Field's biggest game -- Florida/Georgia. Tens of thousands of fans will pack into downtown for the weekend. Many of them will be driving in. But one of downtown's main arteries is still shut down.
"It's a nuisance. It's inconvenient. We'll be sure happy to have it fixed," said driver Del Angelo.
It is a lifeline in limbo. The Mathews Bridge is a vital artery into downtown. Drivers are frustrated. Businesses nearby are losing money. Everyone wants to know when this route will reopen.
"We want to open the bridge early. But if it's not safe, we won't do it," said Mike Goldman with the Department of Transportation.
In two and a half weeks, it's the passage tens of thousands of travelers plan to take for the big Florida/Georgia game. Action News is getting answers about the timetable. Mike Goldman tells me the goal still stands to have traffic flowing for kickoff.
"We are progressing from temporary repair into permanent repair. It all depends on the ability of that bridge to hold traffic and at the proper weight loads, and we're still right now at the evaluating stages," he said.
Angelo is inconvenienced every day by the closure. He now has to leave for work at 6 a.m. and spends double in gas money. But he said it will be an even bigger turnoff for out-of-town fans.
"It'll make us unattractive as a tourist sight for all the people that come and get caught in the congestion. They'll remember the congestion," Angelo said.
Action News has learned DOT crews are working around the clock to get the job done. They have a 40-day deadline and we are now on Day 14. And there are 18 days left to the big game.
"They're making good progress. They're working 24/7, I mean I don't know what else you can do," said Angelo.
There are pretty hefty incentives in place for the construction company. If workers complete the job in 30 days, which is just before the game, the company gets $500,000. It loses $50,000 each day past Day 30, and have to be finished in 40 days.