JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Contractors are scheduled to begin working on the Hart Bridge Expressway today, but drivers shouldn’t expect to see detours for at least a few months.
Crews won’t be knocking it down right away. They are preparing to remove a portion of the expressway, and they’ll begin by working underneath the ramp on Thursday. It’s part of a $39 million project that’s expected to take about two years to complete.
The city approved the plan to take down the ramp near the stadium in order to divert traffic to the area instead of bypassing it. The idea is to spur development of the entertainment complex plan at Lot J for the Jaguars and to help open up the Shipyards property.
Some worry it will create a traffic nightmare, particularly when events at the stadium are taking place. But some businesses in the area think it could bring a boost.
Mike Barton and his brother own Barton Printing, which is located near the ramp.
“A little bit more traffic and a little bit more business,” he said. “In the long run, it’s pretty good.”
The project has already made some impact on the Gate River Run, which is being held on March 7. The starting line has been moved to Duval Street near the fairground as a precaution because of the anticipated construction.
In late April or early May, crews are expected to begin putting up detours on the expressway. The plan is to construct a new ramp from the Hart Bridge down to Gator Bowl Boulevard.
The city plans to build a four lane ground level road and bicycle path by the stadium, and then the road will go back to a portion of the elevated expressway, continuing into downtown.