Express lanes on I-295 between I-95, Buckman Bridge opens

First part of $89 million dedicated express lane system comes with toll

By Zachery Lashway - Reporter/anchor, Roxy Tyler - Web producer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The new express lanes on Interstate 295 between I-95 and the Buckman Bridge opened for traffic Saturday. You can drive on the lanes free on weekends but during peak rush hour time, you'll have to pay a toll to drive in the new lanes.

You'll have to pay the toll with a SunPass, which can be bought at Publix, Walgreens and CVS stores in Northeast Florida. The SunPass mini costs $4.99; the SunPass portable will set you back $19.99.

The Florida Department of Transportation said an EZ pass will not work with the new toll system.

Once you get the pass, you'll need to activate it by calling 1-888-TOLL-FLA or going to the website at SunPass.com. You will need to put at least $10 on your account for the pass to work.

Tolls will be collected during peak drive times, from 6 to 10 a.m and from 3 until 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. It's free to drive on during non-peak times and weekends.

If you access the express lanes without a SunPass, the registered owner of the vehicle will receive a bill for the unpaid tolls and a citation that starts at $25.

FDOT anticipates the I-295 East Beltway express lanes from the Town Center area to State Road 9B and J. Turner Butler Boulevard will open this fall.  

The express lanes are not to be confused with the First Coast Expressway, a new highway from Interstate 10 to Branan Field-Chaffee Road in Clay County. It is already open and will become a toll road as early as this summer. 

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