The bridge was named for John E. Mathews, a Florida state legislator and later Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court, who helped raise funds for the bridge's construction.[
In 1953, Arlington was full of dirt roads and woods, and only accessible by a ferry. When the Mathews Bridge came, all that changed.
After 20 years of debate on building a bridge, in 1950 the State Road Department approved $42 million to build the bridge and Arlington Expressway to bring cars downtown.
The Mathews Bridge is a a steel cantilever bridge.
Ribbon cutting to open the bridge was held April 15, 1953.
Dignitaries were the first cross the bridge.
Later, tolls were added to the Mathews and other river crossings in Jacksonville to pay for the bridges and their upkeep.
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