SEPTEMBER 27, 2013 — A Florida bridge that carries 56,000 vehicles daily will be closed "indefinitely" after it was hit at about 2.00 P.M. yesterday by a Military Sealift Command ship under tow to North Florida Shipyards, Jacksonville, FL.
Image: Screen grab from News 4 Jacksonville coverage
The incident occurred yesterday afternoon when the 821 ft USNS 1st Lt. Harry L. Martin (T-AK 3051) struck the Mathews Bridge, which connects downtown Jacksonville to the Arlington area.
According to coverage by News 4 TV, Jacksonville, Navy officials said the port side stern ramp impacted the Matthews Bridge, and the extent of the damage to the ship was unknown. The ship was empty of cargo when the accident occurred. News 4 quoted Capt. Tim McGill, president of the St. Johns Bar Pilot Association, as saying a number of tug boats were carrying the military supply ship from Blount Island to the shipyards so that Blount Island could be dredged.
The Coast Guard imposed a safety zone in the St. Johns River around the Mathews , but lifted it at 8:15 p.m. Thursday after Florida Department of Transportation bridge inspectors determined there was no threat to river traffic passing below.