Ship hits, damages Jacksonville bridge

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - One of Jacksonville's major bridges was badly damaged Thursday afternoon when its center span was struck by by a ship.  The Mathews Bridge will be shut down through Monday at the earliest.

The crash occurred around 2 p.m. as a tugboat was towing an unidentified ship on the St. Johns River, according to No injuries were reported.

Damage to the center span was clearly visible. Officials call it a "significant hit."

A Transportation Department spokesman said he could not recall an accident this severe in recent memory.

The bridge has a total length of 7,376' and was opened to traffic in 1953.

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