JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — One of the most frequently asked questions First Coast News gets is whether bridges are going to close during high winds.
Wednesday morning, St. Augustine Police announced the Bridge of Lions is partially blocked but not closed. Pedestrian traffic is still being permitted.
So far, no bridges have closed in Jacksonville due to Ian, the City of Jacksonville said. There are specific requirements that must be met before a bridge is temporarily shut down.
"When and if there are sustained winds of 40+ miles per hour, [the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office] will make the determination to close the bridges," the City of Jacksonville said.
If closures are announced, drivers should expect bridges at higher elevations, like the Mathews, Hart and Dames Point bridges, to close first since those bridges would see the most intense winds first.
The closures would happen suddenly and usually do not have early notice as they are often closed right when the 40 mph sustained wind threshold is met. Closures should also be expected to be brief, since sustained winds and not periodic gusts are required for closures.
"We have plenty of bridges in Jacksonville and we have wind-speed monitors on all of those bridges," said Nick Burgos with the sheriff's office in a press conference Wednesday. "Our intent is to keep commuters safe and we're going to stop traffic over those bridges if [winds] exceed 40 mph. If you have to go, go sooner rather than later."
The most likely time these closures will happen will be Thursday morning into Friday morning when Ian is expected to make landfall.