The Main Street Bridge will be closed to traffic and locked into its raised position for three to six months for maintenance work that is expected to get underway in 2027 or 2028, the Florida Highway Department of Transportation said.
FDOT spokesman Hampton Ray said Nov. 29 the closure was part of a two-year, $108 million project to replace components of the Downtown bridge’s trunnions, a critical part of the apparatus that raises and lowers the movable deck.
Closing the bridge during the project was FDOT’s only option, he said, because the bridge can’t be moved while the work is being done and must remain raised to allow for the flow of boat traffic on the St. Johns River.
The trunnions are the last original part of the circa-1930s bridge not to have been rehabilitated or replaced, Ray said.
“It’s an iconic structure, so we want it to be around for a long, long time,” he said.
During the months when the bridge is raised, drivers will be advised to detour to the Acosta Bridge, Ray said.
He said FDOT considered building a temporary bridge, but the option was ruled out for not being cost-effective.
The project is expected to be put out for bids in July 2027, with construction commencing 30 to 90 days later. Part of the work involves replacing the trunnion bearings, which act like axles for a wheel-and-cable structure that moves the deck.
The Main Street Bridge carries an average of 13,800 cars per day and is raised lowered an average of 1,552 times per year.
Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan said that although the closure would “definitely be an adjustment,” drivers could still access Downtown from the Acosta and other bridges serving Downtown.
She said the project was a factor in the city’s discussions about Riverfront Plaza, the proposed park on the former Jacksonville Landing site. Work on that project began with road removal in July, and it remains to be seen how the Main Street Bridge project may affect the timeline of the park work.