JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

The closure of the eastbound travel lane and eight on/off ramps located along the Arlington Expressway from the foot of the Mathews Bridge to the Arlington Road overpass is continuing, according to JEA.

JEA said its design-builder, The Haskell Company, teamed with Jacobs Engineering and Michels Corporation, continue to experience challenges at a critical point in the pipe pull-back under the St. Johns River in completing a water project.

The design-build team is currently following established industry methods to overcome these issues, officials said.

Last week, officials said the contractor had a mechanical failure in attempting to pull a pipe through a hole that was drilled. A pull-back rod attached to the pipe sheared about 400 feet from the entry point, officials said. They said the contractor was successful in retracting the pipe and was in the process of retrieving the pull-back rod, preparing the bore hole and then pulling the pipe again.

JEA said it's working with the design-builder, its engineering firm and drilling contractor to ensure successful completion of this complex project.

This change will cause the scheduled road and ramp closures along the eastbound Arlington Expressway to be extended. Once the contractor has more detailed information, JEA said it will provide an updated completion date and estimate for the opening of these areas. The road signs say Aug. 20, but officials say there is no set date, and the goal is to get the project done as soon as possible.

"The contractor's working around the clock and has been to try to get this pipe across the river," JEA Director Pete Sherdian said. "It's a little bit of a complicated drill scenario, so he's working. We're hoping to have it open as quickly as possible."

JEA said it's working with all affected agencies and the public. This includes coordinating traffic with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and Florida Department of Transportation during special events and during the evening commute.

Commuters traveling the Arlington Expressway westbound to downtown or to other points west of the St. Johns River will not be affected by construction.

Alternate traffic routes

JEA recommends that drivers use the following alternate routes or detours to avoid the expected traffic congestion and delays on the Mathews Bridge and eastbound Arlington Expressway:

  1. The primary detour for Arlington residents who live north of the Arlington Expressway is as follows: Hart Bridge to Atlantic Boulevard to University Boulevard to Cesery Boulevard to Arlington Road North. At Arlington Road, either turn right to get to Rogero Road or turn left to get to University Boulevard OR Interstate 95 north to Heckscher Drive to the Dames Point Bridge to the Southside Connector to the Arlington Expressway, heading back toward downtown. All of the westbound exit ramps will be open to access points north and south of the expressway.
  2. Commuters who use the Arlington Expressway to access destinations such as Mill Creek Road, Southside Boulevard and points further to the east and the Beaches can continue to use the Arlington Expressway, which will be reduced to one lane.
  3. Beaches residents who normally use the Arlington Expressway should take I-95 south to Butler Boulevard to A1A north.
  4. Evening commuters who normally travel Atlantic Boulevard should use Beach Boulevard.
  5. Evening commuters who normally travel Beach Boulevard should consider taking Butler Boulevard.

JEA is building a pipeline to balance water withdrawals from the aquifer on each side of the St. Johns River. The project includes a potable water transmission pipeline comprised of six projects or segments of large diameter water pipe (36-inch, 30-inch and 24-inch).