JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Many drivers in Jacksonville have noticed ongoing construction on new State Road 9B on the Southside.
The Florida Department of Transportation recently started clearing the land near the highway and continuing down the three-mile length of the new roadway as part of the second phase.
FDOT is hoping that State Road 9B will alleviate some of the congestion on U.S. Highway 1 during peak times from Duval County into St. Johns County.
"I get phone calls all the time still from people who are traveling on U.S. 1 who get backed up in traffic from St. Johns County to Duval County traveling for work," said Laurie Sanderson, of FDOT.
In about four months, the state is expected to complete the first phase of the new limited access highway from Philips Highway to the Interstate 295 East Beltway.
"We started planning for a four-lane roadway, but as more funding became available, we were able to add additional concrete pavement on to the roadway so that when the roadway needs to open up to six lanes it will be minimal disruptions to the public," Sanderson said.
Work has begun on the second phase of State Road 9B and is expected to be complete by 2016. It will cost $95 million.
Construction of the next phase includes a new four-lane road between Philips Highway and Interstate 95.
A new interstate interchange and an upgraded interchange at Philips Highway are planned, as are new entrance and exit lanes at the I-95 and Philips Highway interchanges.
"'I'm waiting in traffic. I've been sitting here for 20, 30 minutes, 40 minutes,'" Sanderson said of what drivers tell her. "And they want to know when it will open up."