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John A. Weeks III
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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
Dames Point Bridge
FL-9A Saint John's River Crossing At Jacksonville
Jacksonville, Florida

Dames Point Bridge

• Bridge: Dames Point Bridge
• Structure ID: NBI 720518
• City: Jacksonville
• State: Florida
• Country: USA
• Carries: FL-9A (Future I-295)
• Crosses: Saint John's River
• Date Opened: March, 1989
• Total Length: 10,646 Feet
• Longest Span: 1,300 Feet
• Tower Height: 471 Feet
• Deck Width: 106 Feet
• Number Of Lanes: 6
• Number Of Spans: 1
• Height Above Water: 175 Feet
• Traffic Count: 52,860 (2002)
The Dames Point Bridge, also known as the Napoleon Bonaparte Broward Bridge, is part of the future I-295 ring route Interstate highway that will eventually circle Jacksonville. This bridge is one of the larger cable stay bridges in the US, and it features a harp-style cable arrangement for strength. The harp style has two sets of cables in parallel. These cables total a length of over 21 miles.

This bridge had been proposed for more than 30 years. It nearly was started in the 1970s, but an economic recession caused it to be shelved. The bridge design was modified late in the design process to increase the height above the water from 160 feet to 175 feet. It is fortunate that this was done since modern container ships need this clearance. Some critics suggest that this was still too low, and it should have been built with 190 feet of clearance to allow the larger cruise ships to pass under the bridge. Even that would be too low given that the newest cruise ships require 200 feet of clearance.

The first major maintenance was performed on the bridge in 2007 and 2008 when the stay cables were painted. This involved erecting large stacks of scaffolding on each side of the bridge to provide access to the cables.

The bridge is officially named after Napoleon Bonaparte Broward, a former governor of Florida and all-around character. Besides his political career, Broward was a daring sea captain, and was known to run guns to the Cuban revolutionaries.

The photo above is a view of the upriver west face of the bridge as seen from the south shore of the river. The vantage point was between two houses in a residential area located southwest of the river crossing.


Dames Point Bridge
These two photos are the first of a seven photo set showing a typical crossing of the Dames Point Bridge heading northbound. The photo above is entering the south end of the bridge. The photo below is a view of the main channel spans as seen from the northbound traffic lanes. The sweeping curve in the highway allows for a view of the cable stayed span from a mile south of the structure.

Dames Point Bridge
Dames Point Bridge
These two photos are views heading northbound on FL-9A towards the cable stayed spans of the Dames Point Bridge. The photo above is the transition from the low causeway spans to the ramp that leads to the main river channel span. The photo above is nearing the start of the cable stayed span.

Dames Point Bridge
Dames Point Bridge
These two photos continue our northbound crossing of the Dames Point Bridge. The photo above is passing the south bridge tower while the photo below is passing the north bridge tower. Note that the cables are arranged in side-by-side pairs.

Dames Point Bridge
Dames Point Bridge
The photo above is a view from the ramp leading downhill from the cable stayed span at the north end of the main river channel. The photo below is a view of the transition from the cable stayed span to the concrete girder spans at the north end of the bridge.

Dames Point Bridge
Dames Point Bridge
These two photos are views from the riverbank on the north shore of the Saint John's River. The photo above is the upriver west face of the bridge, while the photo below is the downriver east face of the structure.

Dames Point Bridge
Dames Point Bridge
These two photos are detail views of the north bridge tower. The photo above is a view where the bridge deck is joined to the tower. The photo below is a view of the cable attachment points near the top of the tower.

Dames Point Bridge
Dames Point Bridge
These two photos are views from under the bridge at the north end of the cable stayed span. The photo above is looking south from under the east side of the bridge, while the photo below is from under the center of the bridge deck.

Dames Point Bridge
Dames Point Bridge
These two photos are looking north from the same location. The photo above is looking through the piers supporting the concrete girder spans. The entrance to a local park runs between the piers. The photo below is a view of the west face of the concrete girder spans at the north end of the structure.

Dames Point Bridge
Dames Point Bridge
The photo above is a detail view of the transition between the suspended span and the first concrete girder span at the north end of the cable stayed span. The photo below is the north bridge abutment.

Dames Point Bridge
Dames Point Bridge
These two photos are views looking south from near the north bridge abutment. The photo above is the west face of the structure, while the photo below is looking south along the east face of the bridge.

Dames Point Bridge

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