JACKSONVILLE, Fla. —
An Action News Jax investigation uncovered crashes on the Buckman Bridge increased despite recent safety changes.
In March 2020, Action News Jax reported the Florida Department of Transportation reduced the lanes from 12 feet to between 10 feet and 11 feet.
FDOT narrowed the lanes to make room for an emergency shoulder in hopes of making it safer during a construction project.
FDOT also reduced the speed limit from 65 mph to 55 mph.
The safety changes were made shortly after a deadly crash in February 2020.
An Action News Jax follow-up investigation found crashes were still common on the bridge after the redesign.
The Florida Highway Patrol reported between April 1, 2020, and Dec. 21, 2020, there were 40 reported crashes.
That’s compared to 36 in the same time frame in 2019.
Mia Rogers said she drives on the Buckman Bridge every week.
“I pray when I get on the bridge. I pray when I get off the bridge,” Rogers said.
She said she tries to avoid the bridge.
“It’s just like the [sic] driving the Daytona 500 when you get on the bridge of death,” Rogers said.
Rogers said safety is always on her mind when she crosses the bridge.
“I think about someone pushing me into the St. Johns River,” Rogers said.
“That’s why I now keep my windows rolled down.”
She said she had a close call a couple of weeks ago while her husband was driving them back from Fernandina Beach.
“The tractor-trailer in front of us — he was carrying all kinds of heavy equipment. It became disconnected. … It just fell and stopped right in front of us,” Rogers said.
Coronavirus Local Impact: Beaches mayors pushing for COVID-19 vaccination site
She said her husband had to swerve to avoid a crash.
“It’s very dangerous,” Rogers said.
FDOT stated the lanes are expected to be returned to the original widths when construction is done.
The project includes programmable overhead electronic boards, cameras as well as added signage to better inform drivers.
FDOT stated the project is set to be complete by the end of the year.
© 2021 Cox Media Group