JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Driving along J. Turner Butler Boulevard to Kernan Boulevard, depending on the time of day, can be a nightmare for commuters.
Traffic can get so backed up in the area that the congestion reaches as far as the I-295 interchange.
But a new traffic light at the JTB and Kernan intersection is expected to help. Before the light was installed, each driver had to stop at a stop sign at the intersection, which caused major backups.
Florida Department of Transportation spokesman Hampton Ray said the signal will actually move more people through safer and faster.
“This will improve the overall mobility at the intersection itself,” Ray said. “Create some more efficiencies, which is really important to the mainline JTB.”
An additional lane was also added to the ramp on JTB eastbound heading toward Kernan northbound to improve capacity in the area.
The new improvements mark a milestone in an even bigger road project: the express lanes project of I-295 that will extend from State Road 9B to just north of JTB.
“Major milestones like this interchange improvement are really an important piece of the broader project,” Ray said.
There will be three new 12-foot travel lanes in each direction, noise walls at various locations on the east beltway, construction of drainage ponds and the installation of electronic systems at various locations.
The $178 million project is set to be complete next spring, depending on weather and unforeseen circumstances.
Once the project is complete, drivers will have access to two express lanes in both directions for a fee or can continue using the non-tolled portion of I-295.
While this one part of the project is complete, expect traffic shifts and more active construction zones as work continues, and remember to pay attention and slow down when traveling through these areas.