Oakleaf overpass may be closed up to 3 months

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Parents and students in the Oakleaf community who had a longer-than-usual commute to their schools Friday have now learned that the problem on Plantation Oaks Boulevard could take up to three months to repair.

A Florida Department of Transportation inspection on Thursday turned up issues in a concrete culvert -- a tunnel that carries a stream under the road near the overpass of Branan Field Road.  Plantation Oaks Boulevard was immediately closed, leaving students who walk to school in need of a different plan. 

Transportation officials said they'll meet with contractors on Monday and have a better idea how long repairs will take. FDOT spokesman Ron Tittle said the road will have to be removed to fix the culvert. He said it could take up to three months.

He said the situation is so dangerous, they decided is even just too risky for pedestrians to cross.

"At some point in time, when you've got a lot of deterioration and it's not kept in check, then you could have a potential collapse," Tittles said. "The culvert could have cracking or things of that nature."

Normal bus routes to Oakleaf High School and Oakleaf Junior High are not affected, but it does cause a problem for walkers in some nearby communities.

The Clay County School District provided buses for those students on Friday, but it was a nuisance for all involved.

"We're getting to school now, late now, because the buses got to come and get us after they drop off their other routes," said student Dorian Offset.

"I got to wake up earlier, and I didn't even get to eat breakfast," said Oakleaf High student Rob Lowder. "I got to gain weight for football."

If your child qualifies to be picked up by the shuttle, the pickup point is at the Oakleaf Athletic Field East, across from Oakleaf Village Elementary. For the high school, pick up time is at 7:05 a.m. For the junior high school, pickup time is 9 a.m.

"Just bear with us. We will try to get it back to good conditions as soon as possible," said Tittle.

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