FDOT: Long-term Buckman Bridge repair expected in ‘next several weeks’

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — FDOT representative Hampton Ray tells Action News Jax long-term repairs to a damaged finger joint on the southbound lanes of Buckman Bridge are expected in the coming weeks.

“A longer-term repair will take place in the next several weeks. It’s kind of dependent upon materials, there’s a number of different factors that go in there,” said Ray.

Action News Jax reported on the repairs Thursday morning when the Florida Highway Patrol opted to shut down the southbound lanes of the bridge after calls of damage from motorists.

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The southbound lanes were reopened by mid-afternoon Thursday.

FDOT crews from around the region, including Jacksonville, Gainesville and St. Augustine, installed metal plates to cover the exposed finger joint.

“It is just a temporary repair. We do know that there is a bump that is there. So, we certainly are encouraging people to drive safely as they cross over the southbound lanes of the bridge,” said Ray.

FDOT says drivers can rest assured the plates are safe to drive over.

The finger joints allow the cement parts of the bridge to expand with heat and contract with colder temperatures.

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Action News Jax asked Ray if the metal plates would impact the functionality of the finger joints.

“There’s no cause for concern in regards to the structure,” said Ray. “We have engineers who are assessing the components of the temporary repair multiple times a day just to make sure that everything’s still operational.”

Ray says the southbound lanes are unlikely to undergo another total shutdown when final repairs are being made in the coming weeks.

“We’re not going to close down the bridge again unless it’s absolutely necessary,” said Ray. “We’ll only close the bridge unless it’s found unsafe for whatever reason.”