Celebrating the Acosta Bridge’s Centennial
To kick off the festivities, beginning at sundown on June 24 through June 26, the bridge was lit up in blue and yellow, as a nod to its past, present, and future. When the original bridge opened, it was the first three-lane steel vertical-lift bridge in the state, and an engineering feat. Its center section was painted yellow and fondly nicknamed “the Yellow Monster” because the section would often get stuck, causing traffic delays. When Mr. Acosta passed away, the bridge he helped bring to life was renamed for him. Eventually the bridge deteriorated and was replaced by the current bridge we see today in 1991. Blue lights adorned it. Today, the Acosta Bridge stands 81 feet above the river at its highest point, has separate pedestrian lanes, and room for cyclists. It’s maintained by the Florida Department of Transportation, along with JTA, which maintains the Skyway tracks and lighting systems. Thanks to JTA and photographer Fred Ortyl for this beautiful photo.
On Thursday, June 24, Dr. Wayne Wood spoke to a packed hall at Southside Baptist Church about the importance of spanning the river for automobile traffic one hundred years ago, as well as the journey that was taken to get the bridge built. The audience was captivated by the storytelling of Dr. Wood, and attendees were able to view original photos and artifacts from the St. Johns River Bridge’s opening 100 years ago. It was a special evening learning about the importance of the bridge not only to the growth of Jacksonville, but also to the state of Florida. The oldest and youngest granddaughters of St. Elmo W. Acosta, the bridge’s namesake, were even in attendance. They are pictured holding the actual shovel their grandfather used for the bridge’s groundbreaking in 1918. They were gifted roses this evening by the SMPS because their grandfather loved to garden, and was known to wear a flower in his jacket’s lapel.
To see more photos and learn more about the Acosta Bridge and centennial celebrations, please visit the news articles below: