Crash knocks down light pole at troublesome Mandarin intersection

Driver runs into downed pole that prompted earlier I-TEAM investigation

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A car hopped a curb and took out a temporary traffic pole Thursday morning at a busy Mandarin intersection that has already been the focus of a News4Jax I-TEAM investigation.

The crash shut down all northbound lanes of San Jose Boulevard at Old St. Augustine Road for several hours.

According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, a driver traveling northbound on Old St. Augustine Road hopped the curb at San Jose Boulevard and ran over several traffic poles that were already down from a previous crash in February.

The driver then knocked down a second wooden pole that was a temporary replacement for the downed poles. The traffic lights were left dangling above the street.

The driver wasn't hurt.

Crews worked to a get a new temporary pole installed. Even after traffic was reopened, getting a contractor to the scene to begin installing the new pole took a few hours. 

In the meantime, community service officers with the Sheriff's Office directed traffic.

Troublesome intersection

The wooden pole the car hit was a temporary fix added after the I-TEAM investigated concerns from neighbors about the intersection. 

In February, a man died in a crash at the same intersection. The driver in that crash also crashed into a pole and knocked it out. 

READ MORE: Traffic signal repairs after deadly crash in Mandarin

People in the area were concerned because the pole hadn't been replaced. On top of that, pieces of that damaged traffic signal had been left in the street. 

Concerned about the hazards, residents reached out to the I-TEAM. We took it to the city and as a result of that investigation, a temporary wooden pole was added.

That temporary pole was destroyed in Thursday morning’s crash.

The permanent fix is still on the way, city officials said. The holdup, according to a city worker, is that one of the steel poles -- which was ordered in February -- hasn't arrived from the manufacturer. A city worker said they hope to have the final piece delivered in about a month and crews will work as quickly as possible after that to have it installed.

Residents fed up

The permanent fix can't come soon enough for residents and business owners, like Janet Davis.

Davis owns Mandarin Sea Life and has been in the area for five years. She said she's seen just about everything, including the deadly crash in February that knocked out the original traffic light.

“I think it is a very dangerous and deadly intersection the way it’s laid out,” Davis said. “It’s confusing to people. There’s a lot of road rage. It is a major, major traffic problem.”

People have been pushing for improvements for months, claiming it’s dangerous for drivers and pedestrians.

“I think that it can be made safer,” Davis said. “There’s a lot of problems and until something happens, nobody does anything.”

News4Jax contacted the city, and we're awaiting a comment from the supervisor of the traffic department.

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