The Florida Highway Patrol and the Department of Transportation has a system in place to keep you safe on Jacksonville's bridges when gusty winds threaten your safety.
In 2012, wind gusts reached more than 100 miles per hour on the Mathews Bridge during Tropical Storm Beryl which forced FHP to close the bridge. FDOT also says maximum sustained winds reached 37 miles per hour. The Mathews closed the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend and reopened mid-week.
Mike Goldman, FDOT Public Information Officer, says the platforms on the bridge were the problem. He says, "Work was going on above the traffic over these platforms that people saw on the bridge. The platform above the roadway which sustained the impact from the storm was completely removed because of work progress a few months back". Goldman says there's another platform underneath the span that should be completely removed within a month. He says they spent more than $150,000 to get this work done.
Wind meters installed by the DOT helps FHP know when to close a bridge. Peter Vega in the FDOT ITS office says, "The data will basically alert law enforcement of worsening conditions. At 25 MPH the first alert goes off, at 30 MPH it sends another alert then there's an alert at 40 MPH which basically is kind of the cutoff point where they determine it's time to close this bridge".
Vega says this allows law enforcement to "streamline their resources" and focus on areas dealing with high wind conditions. He says this works better than in times past because it "seems to coordinate response better" which gives "motorists a better product".
WOKV has access to this wind meter information and the storm team will be here to help you if disaster strikes.