The Old Acosta Bridge

March 7th, 2014, 12:01H · Topics: Around Town, Getting Around · Print

“A picture of the Acosta Bridge built in the 20’s and was the only bridge across the St Johns till 1941 when the Main Street bridge was finished.  Now this bridge is just history.”  LS

The old Acosta Bridge shown in this undated photograph from the Loyd Sandgren collection.  Originally named the Jacksonville St. Johns River Bridge, it was the first bridge for vehicle and pedestrian traffic to span Jacksonville on the North side of the St. Johns River with South Jacksonville.  Prior to the three lane steel beam bridge opening in 1921 the only way to get to the South side of the river was by train on the railroad bridge or a ferry from downtown to the South bank of the river. For almost 20 years the bridge operated as a toll bridge and brought in over $4,100,000. in tolls.  The bridge cost $1,200,000. to build.

In 1940, shortly before the Main Street bridge was constructed the tolls were lifted. In 1949 the bridge was renamed the St. Elmo W. Acosta bridge in honor of the city commissioner who pushed for the original construction of the bridge over the protests of the railroad and ferry operators.  In 1991 the old Acosta bridge was demolished and the new 6 lane concrete span Acosta bridge was built.


Tags: , , , , , , ,

  1. 1 Don Webb January 22nd, 2015 19:12H

    Is this bridge still open to automobile traffic?

    • 2 Mike Austell May 14th, 2015 17:16H

      See last sentence of last paragraph.

  2. 3 Bailey Harper October 30th, 2017 23:21H

    Is there any information as to who built it and any notes on its construction?

  3. 4 bob October 31st, 2017 9:32H

    Bailey, According to Wayne Wood’s book Jacksonville’s Architectural Heritage (This is the definitive book on Jacksonville’s historic architecture) the bridge was Designed by J.L. Harrington of Kansas City Missouri and the substructure was built by the Missouri Valley Bridge & Iron Company. The superstructure was built by Bethlehem Steel Company. Five years after Henry Flagler completed the railroad bridge across the St. Johns River the effort to have the bridge built began. Apparently there was a lot of resistance from the railroad and ferry operators to a vehicle bridge being built but it did get done and the first cars drove over the bridge on September 25, 1919.

  4. 5 Robert May 21st, 2019 22:03H

    When the old Acosta Bridge steel structure was lowered on to a barge(s) and hauled away, If I remember correctly, the Florida Times Union indicated that it was to be taken offshore and dropped to the ocean floor to become an artificial reef, but I can’t find any record of this happening. Does anyone know what actually happened to the old bridges expansion?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Your photo in comments, use Gravatar
Please include http://
Note: XHTML is allowed.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS


About Photographer Loyd Sandgren

I first met Loyd Sandgren in 1997 as I was putting photo gear back into my car after... Learn More