DOT Project looks to add toll roads on Southside

Lanes would be added to I-295

Author: Scott Johnson, General assignment reporter, sjohnson@wjxt.com
Nicholas Jones, Associate producer, njones@wjxt.com
Published On: Jan 21 2014 09:55:11 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 22 2014 11:04:26 AM EST
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

A project is looking to add four lanes on the Interstate 295 East Beltway between J. Turner Butler Blvd. and State Road 9B. It's a four-mile-long project with a price tag of $155 million.

The lanes, which would be used on a voluntary basis, would allow drivers to pay a fee and take the toll road to avoid traffic.

Jim Knight, a project engineer with the Florida Department of Transportation said it’s currently just an idea in the works and far from being approved.

“If you’re driving, the charge to use express lane will be displayed at the entrance, and you can make the decision to stay in the free lanes or use express lanes and pay a toll,” said Knight.

Tuesday night Florida DOT unveiled the plan to the public at the University of North Florida to find out if the addition is something drivers support. People familiar with toll roads in South Florida said they didn't mind adding toll lanes.

If the addition happens, drivers would use the SunPass.

“It really is a needed project," said Fred Isaac, a supporter of the project. "If you get involved in SunPass project in other parts of Florida, it really is cool. It's fast, very safe and allows for movement of traffic.”

"I would rather keep as much money in my pocket as I can, but they're going to do what they're going to do they really make the choices up there. Not us, not the people," said Taylor Gay who is against the project.

The regular lanes on I-295 would still be free and unchanged. If the project goes through, construction will begin Summer 2015.