JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Transportation will be installing a new barrier wall at the eastern end of the Hart Expressway where it merges with Beach Boulevard. Officials said work on approximately 600 feet of a concrete barrier wall in the existing median will begin this week.
FDOT said the 3-foot high barrier is intended to discourage pedestrians from crossing a total of eight lanes of traffic.
There are many businesses and schools on either side of Beach Boulevard in the area, including the River City Science Academy. In June 2016, News4Jax reported on the installation of warning signs near the charter school. It came after students were seen running in and out of traffic across Beach Boulevard to reach the school.
FDOT told News4Jax then, that there were future plans to build a barrier along the median.
“We saw footage from News4Jax of these students running across the road,” FDOT spokesman Hampton Ray said. “As a parent, I’m thinking, ’Oh my gosh. It’s just so scary to watch a child run across the road.’”
With the new construction, pedestrians can cross safely 150 feet east of the median at the signalized intersection at Parental Home Road and Beach Boulevard. In addition, the new barrier will prevent drivers from making illegal U-turns.
Officials said the project will also include installing new directional signage for both Beach Boulevard and the Hart Expressway. It is expected to be complete in November 2020, weather permitting.
Officials said drivers should expect overnight road and lane closures for the duration of construction.
The first step of the process will cause an overnight detour to temporary traffic controls are installed. That was initially planned for this week, but FDOT said it has been delayed until later in the month.
Here will be the temporary detours:
- All westbound Beach Boulevard traffic, including the ramp, will detour to Parental Home Road and Dean Road to Beach Boulevard.
- All eastbound Beach Boulevard traffic will detour to Dean Road and Parental Home Road back to Beach Boulevard.
- All eastbound Hart Expressway traffic will be required to exit at University Boulevard and detour to eastbound Beach Boulevard.