YULEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Transportation is gearing up for one of their most innovative projects yet. They say this will benefit the county and help keep drivers safe.
This is called a Diverging Diamond Interchange and it will come to State Road 200 A1A at Interstate 95. You can see the difference in this traffic pattern as opposed to a traditional interchange.
FDOT said construction is on schedule to begin in January. Construction could last about two to three years. Ron Tittle with FDOT said this is an unusual project and the traffic patterns may look strange to some but Nassau County is growing and the goal is to cut down on accidents.
While it's off-season at Florida Citrus Center in Nassau County, Teresa Minzler, the assistant manager at Florida Citrus Center, expects to see business pick up next month. A lot of residents and tourists are expected to stop in as they travel north and south through the county.
"When we're on season, you're lucky to get on the lot. When it's busy, it's busy," said Minzler.
The traffic is a sign of growth all over Nassau County. With that, comes a push to keep these busy roads safe. Minzler not only works in Nassau, she lives here, and has seen many accidents.
"Almost on a daily basis. Some mornings there will be three before 7 o'clock," said Minzler.
The Diverging Diamond Interchange is part of a multi-million dollar plan to widen the roadway from the interstate to about Old Nassauville Road in Yulee.
"It's designed to limit and minimize any left turns. In crash studies, left turns
seem to be more of a challenge," said Tittle.
Instead of making left turns, cars will criss-cross each other to reach the highway. They will then cross back to leave the interchange. Drivers stay in the left lane.
Tittle said this unique project is not only designed to alleviate traffic problems but bring a little boost to the area overall. He says adapting to the construction is something he wants drivers to get ready for as soon as possible.
"We want people to be careful, drive cautiously. We're saying it's a short term
inconvenience for a long term solution. We're trying to help configuration and
have a safer roadway system," said Tittle.