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 will be extended at a minimum through the weekend, according to JEA.

Officials said a contractor working for JEA to complete a water project across the St. Johns River has 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 is in the process of retrieving the pull-back rod, preparing the bore hole and then pulling the pipe again. This change will cause the schedule to be extended through the weekend before completion.

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

JEA and JSO recommend the use of the Hart Bridge before and after Friday's preseason Jaguars game at EverBank Field.

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).