JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - More toll roads could be coming to Jacksonville -- and the Florida Department of Transportation wants to hear your thoughts.
A public meeting is being held Wednesday for the proposed addition of I-95 express lanes on a 6.3-mile stretch of I-95 between Butler and Atlantic boulevards. The lanes would cut down on crashes and accommodate more traffic in an effort to ease congestion during peak hours, officials said.
Not many drivers were happy to hear more construction could be coming to Jacksonville roadways, but FDOT officials said it's necessary.
From 2011 to 2015, more than 1,800 crashes were reported, with about 630 involving injuries. Eight were deadly.
FDOT's Crash Analysis Reporting System, or CARS, shows a majority of the crashes occurred during peak hours.
The possible changes include two to three toll lanes added from Butler Boulevard that would spread out to six general-use lanes after Emerson Street.
"I think it's one of many proposed changes that's needed,” driver Neal Chancey said. “Jacksonville's got tremendous growth and the economy is doing well; they need it."
But not all drivers are on board.
"It's a hassle,” Tabitha Biggs said. “It's hard to get on and off the lanes, especially when there's traffic, and people drive crazy because they use cellphones. They don't pay attention."
Some parts of I-95 are so old that they no longer meet the standards of the FDOT, so as part of the project, workers will be making some improvements to the overpasses like the one at I-95 and Bowden Road.
The whole project is estimated to cost more than $300 million. The design phase of the project is underway, but FDOT officials said the final decision has not been made to move ahead with the I-95 express lanes.
If the project moves forward, crews wouldn't break ground until 2022.
The public is invited to learn more about the project and voice any concerns at a public hearing Wednesday at the Jacksonville Marriott at 4670 Salisbury Road.
An open house begins at 4:30 p.m., followed by a presentation and public comment at 6:30 p.m.
For more on the current express lane projects, go to http://northfloridaexpress.com/.
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