Jacksonville, FL (January 16, 2016) This past month, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) held its final public meeting at UNF to share its plans and to get public opinion to the scope of work to be performed regarding Express Lanes that are planned to be built starting in 2015 on I-295 eastern beltway from SR9B to J.T. Butler Blvd. (JTB) for approx. 5 miles.
First, Express Lanes are an innovative concept to manage traffic congestion and ultimately provide choices for motorists. These new roadways will provide more capacity in areas where traffic congestion is a major problem. This concept is typically known as an “expressway-within-an expressway” where the express lanes are separated from the general use lanes.
FDOT is planning to construct express lanes in each direction on interstates and future projects providing restricted access points. Before entering the express lanes, signs will be posted notifying motorist of toll pricing at that time. The price of the toll will vary, based on the level of congestion in the express lanes to ensure the express lanes provide reliable travel times. Therefore, the toll will be higher during peak times when demand is greater. Motorists will have plenty of time to decide whether it is worth paying the toll or using the free general use lanes.
There will be no toll booths! Tolls will be collected using a fully automated system called SunPass. Traffic will be able to move at full speed through a tolled area and tolls will be automatically deducted using a transponder that has been attached to the front windshield of your car.
Plans for the I-295 eastern beltway included allowing motorist to enter the express lanes at access points located at the SR9B interchange from the South and at the JTB interchange from the north. Once in the express lanes, you will not be able to exit at the Baymeadows Road or Gate Parkway Interchanges. The biggest issue to be decided is the options for allowing motorist to exit for JTB to the north. The two options consist of a simple “Interim Alternative” at a construction price of $122 million that would allow motorist to exit by merging back into the existing lanes prior to JTB but requiring one to weave over to the far most right lane to exit. The second “Ultimate Alternative” at a construction price of $149 million would build an eastwardly “fly over” beginning before the Gate Parkway interchange, landing the expressway traffic on to the right most lane eliminating the weaving requirement.
In conclusion, all motorists are faced with the same challenges related to traffic congestion, fuel economy and timely travel. Using express lanes will alleviate congestion and provide predictable travel times in an economically efficient way. That is why the FDOT is providing these choices for our daily commute. With the concept of express lanes, you can pay a varying toll when you decide your time is more valuable than sitting in traffic…. The Choice will be yours!
For more information and for a full review of FDOT’s plans Visit: