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Mathews Bridge open in both directions

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Updated: 10/29/2013 6:24 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Mathews Bridge reopened Tuesday morning after being closed for more than a month..

Officials with JSO told Action News the bridge opened sooner than expected. It was scheduled to reopen Tuesday night.

The incentive for crews to finish early is now up to between $650,000 and $700,000, according to the Florida Department of Transportation.

"Late last week, the contractors were making good progress," said FDOT Spokesman Mike Goldman. "And we said it's imperative we get this bridge open, if we sweeten the pot a little bit, could you do it, and they said yes."

The Mathews Bridge had been closed for 33 days after a Navy ship slammed into it -- causing serious damage. After some early setbacks, the construction company was able to get the pieces into place to complete the work on time.

Now that the bridge is open, FDOT spokesman Mike Goldman says that's one more item off the department's to-do list.  But he says the bridge isn't in the clear yet.

Work on a $23 million contract, separate from the emergency repair contract, is being done to repair steel and paint on the bridge.

"That contractor was able to work while the bridge was closed," said Goldman.  He says construction crews hope to have the work done by the end of the year.
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