Jacksonville — If you drive the West or East Beltway through the southside daily you’ve been seeing construction on the roads for years. The Florida Department of Transportation says construction on the West Beltway to install express tolled lanes from the Buckman Bridge to I-95 is expected to wrap up late this summer.
“We believe that with the opening of the express lanes it will allow traffic along that corridor to move faster and better.” FDOT spokesperson Hampton Ray says.
The late summer timeline is later than the last time we checked in on the project, completion then was slated to be done in early 2018. Ray says the project still has some construction that needs to get done. He says construction crews still need to resurface the roadway, install the plastic polls to separate the express lanes from non-tolled lanes, and once that construction gets done, FDOT needs to test the express lanes to make sure the roads and overhead toll structures are working properly. FDOT says they are looking to start testing the new tolled express lanes in August.
“We wanna make sure we get the most bang for our buck out of every construction dollar.” Ray says.
Project details from FDOT say the new express lanes will be on the left side of the interstate and once you get in to the lanes you won’t be able to get off until the end. FDOT says in addition to the express tolled lanes, there will be noise canceling walls up in between the Buckman Bridge and I-95, drainage ponds, and toll structures in place once the project is done.
The West Beltway project is not the only construction happening on the beltway in Jacksonville. The East Beltway in between State Road 9-B and Butler Boulevard is also getting tolled express lanes. Ray says that project is still looking to be completed in the spring of 2019.
One of the biggest visuals you will see now along the East Beltway North near JTB is a new ramp.
“That ramp is a dedicated lane for express lanes, for drivers to either go east or west on JTB.” Ray says.
FDOT says the east beltway project includes putting in noise canceling walls in between 9-B and JTB, drainage ponds and new electronic tolling structures, like what’s being done on the west beltway.
Ray says all the completed construction time frames depend on weather cooperating, and other unforeseen circumstances.