Jacksonville, FL - It may be your best chance to weigh in on a project affecting your daily commute.
The Florida Department of Transportation is holding a public hearing on tolled express lanes coming soon to the West Beltway, and FDOT Spokeswoman Gina Busscher tells me it’s the last meeting they will hold before construction begins.
“This is the best opportunity for them to get in on the ground level,” she says.
The FDOT is planning to build one lane going both directions on I-295 between I-95 and the Buckman Bridge beginning next year. The additional lanes will be tolled, while the existing lanes will remain without a toll.
Busscher says they haven’t had much feedback from drivers on the project, although the concerns they’ve received have been put in to effect.
“They’ve already been reflected in the amount of noise walls that we’re going to have along the project,” she says.
Neighborhoods surrounding the pending construction were concerned about the additional noise from the new lanes, so Busscher says their design plan right now includes noise walls for nearly the entire stretch.
She says, so far, they haven’t had much feedback on the toll the new lanes will carry, but for those who don’t agree with the toll, they don’t have to drive in the new lanes.
“This is a choice, they don’t have to pay the toll,” she says.
But if you choose to use the express lanes, she says you should know they will be monitored by video cameras, and you will be mailed a citation for not paying.
The hearing Tuesday will be at the Ramada Conference Center at 3130 Hartley Road. The open house will last from 4:30 PM-6:30 PM, with a formal presentation and public comment set for 6:30 PM.
If you are unable to make the hearing or have further questions, you can check out the formal project website at www.NorthFloridaExpress.com.