Published On: May 29 2012 03:17:00 PM EDTUpdated On: Sep 26 2013 09:16:02 PM EDT
Tuesday morning's commute for anyone going from Arlington and the beaches to downtown was a nightmare when the Mathews Bridge was not able to reopen after Tropical Storm Beryl passed.
"It was backed up to, I don't know what street it is," one motorist told Channel 4's Hailey Winslow. "I had to come down Atlantic (Boulevard), which was packed also because all the cars were going the same direction i was going."
The problem was metal platforms being used to repaint the bridge were damaged by the storm and could be a hazard to drivers.
The bridge is being painted and undergoing other structural repairs in a project that began last September.
The damage to the temporary facilities came as a surprise to the Florida Department of Transportation because they were designed to withstand hurricane-force winds. The highest gust from Beryl recorded in Jacksonville was 64 mph -- 10 mph below hurricane speed.
Lingering winds of Tropical Storm Beryl kept the contractor from making needed repairs and inspections for two days after the storm passed.
"The biggest obstacle right now is the wind itself." FDOT spokesman Michael Goldman told Channel 4 Tuesday morning. "They can't get people up there to make repairs because of the wind."
Because repairs are dependent on the weather, no one could say exactly when the bridge would reopen, which is bad news for 66,500 motorists that use the bridge every day.