JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville’s Southside could soon get a facelift.
The Florida Department of Transportation wants to hear from the community before widening parts of I-295. The goal is to give drivers more space, especially during peak travel times.
FDOT is specifically looking at changes to the East Beltway to improve the flow of traffic.
“It’s no secret that our region is growing significantly. We’re seeing that not only with census data but every day we’re hundreds of thousands of people coming to our state,” said Hampton Ray, FDOT Public Information Officer.
To keep up with the growing population in Jacksonville’s Southside, the Florida Department of Transportation wants to add an additional lane on each side of 295 from JTB to the foot of the Dames Point Bridge at the Southside Connector increasing lane capacity from 4 to 6.
“A lot of the times we compare traffic or congestion to water going through a pipe. In order to get more water through the pipe, you have to make the pipe a little bit bigger. In this case, we will be adding capacity to the roadway helping more vehicles go through during those peak hours,” said Ray.
Other improvements could include:
- Adding new entrance and exit ramps at the I-295/Merrill Road interchange
- Improving traffic operations by adding auxiliary lanes between intersections.
- Converting the 295/Town Center Parkway interchange to a diverging diamond interchange.
- And constructing noise walls at qualified locations.
Before moving forward on this new construction, FDOT is seeking the public’s input.
“We really encourage that. We want the community to be engaged with us and help us make these decisions. Because at the end of the day it’s locals, it’s the people that live here like us, that have to live with the decisions that are being made. And that’s really what this meeting is all about, it’s just about soliciting feedback from the community,” said Ray.
The project is expected to start late next year and has a $265 million price tag.
More information about this proposed construction can be found here.
The meeting is Thursday night from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm at the University of North Florida’s University Center.
If you can’t make it to the meeting in person, you can watch it here.
You can also send your comments about the project by email if you can’t make it in person. That email address is: David.Tyler@dot.state.fl.us