by: Jamie Smith Updated:
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Some motorists who drive over the Buckman Bridge daily have long feared the height of the guardrail. Keysha Bentley of Mandarin told Action News that she alters her driving pattern to avoid the cement railing.
"I always stay in the middle lane because I'm afraid of [the guardrails]," said Bentley.
She remembers the incident 11 years ago at the Shands Bridge when a woman on a cellphone flipped her car over the 30-inch guardrail.
But unlike the Shands, which was built to code in 1961, the Buckman was reconstructed in 1995 and has guardrails measuring 32 inches, meeting Florida's minimum height requirement.
"It's one of our more modern bridges. It's reasonably safe," said Ron Tittle, spokesman for the Florida Department of Transportation.
But even though the Buckman guardrail height meets federal and state standard, it wasn't high enough to contain the vehicle that tumbled into the river Wednesday morning in a fatal crash.