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Latest from Jacob Pickering

    If driving in heavy traffic on the East Beltway through Jacksonville’s Southside is part of your daily commute, you can expect some relief in the near future. The I-295 Express Lanes Project will see increased construction activities within the next several weeks ahead of opening a third general-use lane on the East Beltway southbound. Construction activities will include multiple traffic shifts, lane striping and overnight detours. The first traffic shift related to lane striping is expected to take place overnight on I-295 southbound this Sunday, October 20. Signs and message boards will inform drivers of these traffic pattern changes.  “Our goal at FDOT is to improve the transportation experience for everyone on the roadway, and we’re confident the additional lane will help reduce congestion. We’re glad to see the improvement is expected to take place before the holiday shopping season as we work to support the continued growth in Northeast Florida,” said District 2 Secretary Greg Evans.  The $160 million project was awarded to the Archer-Western Contractors design-build team. The Express Lanes project is expected to be completed in its entirety in the fall of 2020
  • This morning drivers were stuck in extensive delays trying to leave Orange Park using the I-295 West Beltway SB.  Reports first came in around 7am of crash in the left lane before the hump of the bridge.  Florida Highway Patrol troopers said 27-year-old Rashelle Kirsch died. She had lost control of her SUV for unknown reasons.  Soon after, emergency personnel arrived and blocked off the two inside lanes of the Buckman Bridge. The crash caused extensive delays to stretch back for miles, and drivers were delayed for over an hour during the morning rush.  All lanes were reopened to traffic around 10:00 a.m.  No other vehicles were were involved in the crash.  
  • Construction is expected to begin on January 16th to widen and improve a section of Blanding Blvd (SR-21) in front of Middleburg High School. The work area stretches between Allie Murray Rd and Long Bay Rd.  Project improvements include widening the road from four lanes to six with full reconstruction, adding four-foot wide bike lanes in both directions, adding six-foot wide sidewalks in both directions, replacing traffic signals, replacing street lights, and construction of a new drainage system. The FDOT is asking you to use caution in the area, as there will be orange construction barrels and other traffic control measures on the road. Portable changing message signs will be in place to alert drivers of any possible lane closures ahead of time. The project is expected be completed by Spring of 2021, weather permitting.
  • Emergency road work will cause a closure of McCormick Road eastbound this week. Construction crews will be out repairing roadway damage that occurred when a Verizon contractor struck a JEA water main last Friday, Nov 30th. Eastbound McCormick Road will be detoured southbound onto Monument Road, to southbound St. Johns Bluff, to eastbound Atlantic Boulevard, to northbound Kernan Boulevard. These detours will take place from 8:30 a.m. Thursday, December 6 through  6 a.m. Monday, December 10. J.B. Coxwell Contracting Inc., the company selected by the FDOT to make the emergency repairs, has stated that they will work 24-hours continuously until the repairs are complete, weather and unforeseen circumstances permitting. Below is a map of the scheduled detour provided by the FDOT.
  • The I-295 East Beltway Northbound will be detoured between Philips Highway and State Road 9B nightly from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday, October 29th through Thursday, November 1st. All drivers will be re-routed from the East Beltway North onto Philips Highway, north on Southside Blvd up to Baymeadows Rd eastbound back to the East Beltway. The I-295 East Beltway Southbound will not be affected by any detours or closures. Construction crews will be out overnight transporting and placing 200-foot bridge beams with 18-foot wide carrier dollies as a part of the next phase of the express lanes project. The Florida Department of Transportation project is expected to be completed in summer 2019, weather permitting.
  • A Bud Light tractor trailer set fire on I-95 southbound this morning around 9:30am at the Philips Highway/Avenues Mall exit. The driver initially blocked just one lane when the fire set and he pulled over to the right. Less than ten minutes later, JFRD arrived on scene and blocked off three right lanes to quickly put the fire out. One right lane re-opened at 10:10am. JFRD then tweeted a jocular message and photo from the scene. The precious cargo was saved by the quick work of JFRD crews. All lanes of I-95 south were re-opened at 11:15am.
  • The Hart Bridge Expressway (SR-228) will soon be undergoing construction rehabilitation activity beginning Monday, April 23rd. Nighttime detours will be necessary during portions of the project to ensure the safety of construction crews and the traveling public, says the FDOT. The first period of detours are planned to take place for a total of two weeks, from 7 p.m. until 5 a.m. overnight. Starting on Tuesday, April 24 through Friday, May 4. During that time, the stretch of the road between Beach Blvd and University Blvd will be closed in both directions. Westbound Beach Blvd (U.S. 90) drivers attempting to access the Hart Bridge Expressway will be re-directed to University Blvd Northbound to access the Hart Bridge Expressway ramp. Drivers heading south on the Hart Bridge Expressway, leaving downtown and seeking to access Beach Blvd Eastbound, will be detoured onto the University Blvd Southbound exit to access Beach Blvd. The FDOT will have message boards and signs to direct traffic through the detours. The rehabilitation project consists mainly of bridge improvements including minor repair of expansion joints, drainage improvements, the coating of steel beams and replacement of bearing pads which assist in the distribution of weight and movement on the bridge. The $1.1 million project was awarded to Olympus Painting Contractors and is expected to be completed in the Spring of 2019.
  • This morning was quite a mess for Westside drivers on I-10 Eastbound. The reason? Construction for FDOT’s Your10&95 project closed off the right lane of the Fuller Warren Bridge Southbound between Park St and San Marco, as well as the exit ramp to San Marco. The project was originally planned to span the hours of 8pm-6am overnight, but crews took longer than expected and ended up having those lanes blocked all the way into rush hour. FDOT says crews started construction late, and they had to complete their task before they could leave. All lanes of I-95 SB were eventually reopened at 8:30am. We are working with FDOT to see if any action is taken to prevent this type of traffic pressure point from happening again tomorrow. FDOT says they plan to have the right lane blocked again Wednesday night into Thursday morning from 8-5:30.  This construction is part of the FDOT’s initiative to create a wider bridge with new travel lanes and even a shared bike path on the bridge. Today, the construction crews were pouring concrete and laying foundation below the bridge.  You can read more details about this project and what the FDOT has in store at: Your10and95.com
  • The Florida Department of Transportation District 2 announced that all construction work on Jacksonville’s Mathews Bridge is now complete after multiple required bridge closures since the New Year. Work on the Mathews Bridge began in January of 2018. The contractor Orlando R&B, LLC was awarded the $494,885 project. The work that was completed consisted mainly of deck rehabilitation.  “This project was completed ahead of schedule and underscores the commitment FDOT has to the community: to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars,” said FDOT District Two Secretary Greg Evans.  “We understand bridge maintenance and rehabilitation projects, like this, can be frustrating,” Evans continued. “Construction is a temporary inconvenience to a more permanent transportation solution. Projects like this remind us that we demand a lot from our infrastructure and we are constantly striving to meet the needs of the traveling public.” The Mathews Bridge was opened in 1953. The bridge is 7,736 feet long and spans 146 feet above the St. Johns River. Approximately 72,500 vehicles travel the bridge daily. 
  • Jacob Pickering

    Traffic Anchor

    Jacob Pickering has been with WOKV since 2017. A Jacksonville native, he is the lead Traffic Anchor on Jacksonville’s Morning News. Outside of the WOKV studio, you can find Jacob performing in local theatre productions, recording assorted podcasts or relaxing by the riverside.

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  • Ahead of an approaching cold front, Northeast Florida saw a line of strong storms roll through. Some of those storms prompted severe thunderstorm warnings and a few tornado warnings from the National Weather Service of Jacksonville. The NWS does believe an EF-0 tornado did touch during in northern St. Johns County on Tuesday evening. At this time, WOKV has not received any reports of injuries, but there have been reports of damage and downed trees.
  • Following the recent passage of a $2.2 trillion economic stimulus measure to help families and businesses with the financial strain of the coronavirus pandemic, WOKV's Consumer Warrior Clark Howard is breaking down some of the finer details. Howard says adults making up to $75,000 a year will get a $1,200 check, while a married couple making up to $150,000 will get $2,400, with $500 payments per child.  STORY: Are you getting a stimulus check; how much will it be? Use this calculator to find out However, Howard says that $500 payment doesn't include every child.  'You will not get money for your teenager. So, once your teenager goes past 16, they're out of the picture for the $500,' explains Howard.  Howard says this $500 payment also does not apply to other types of dependents, like if you're an adult taking care of your elderly parents.  Get more consumer news and advice from Clark Howard in his latest on-demand podcasts by clicking HERE.
  • The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is working hard to make sure people throughout the state who are unemployed are getting the assistance they need during the coronavirus pandemic. That means hiring more staff members to help people who are trying to apply for unemployment benefits. Executive Director Ken Lawson signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor over the weekend to execute the CARES Act in Florida. Lawson says his staff is working hard to implement those resources to Floridians as soon as possible. The week before most businesses closed due to government orders, the Department of Economic Opportunity received 28,000 calls. Last week in just four days, they received 130,000 calls. That higher volume of calls is overwhelming the staff, but it looks like help is on the way. Anyone who calls right now should expect to wait on hold for upwards of an hour, but hopefully that wait time starts dropping soon. The Department of Economic Opportunity is hiring 100 people statewide to answer calls, walk people through the application process, and handle processing applications. Florida residents eligible for reemployment assistance include people quarantined by a medical professional or government agency, people who have been laid off or sent home without pay for an extended period of time or people caring for an immediate family member diagnosed with coronavirus. Any Floridian whose employment has been negatively impacted by the virus can get more information here.
  • Isolation and fear during the coronavirus pandemic can create the perfect storm for domestic abuse. Some experts say victims are like prisoners in their own homes during quarantine.  “We’re talking about a horrible situation. People who normally might be able to call us, reach out to us, stop at our outreach center or go to work and look online to find how they can get help are prisoners in their own home,” Hubbard House CEO Gail Patin, EdD, LCSW, said.  Anyone who needs help and can safely get away from their abuser is asked to call the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-500-1119 or Hubbard House in Jacksonville at (904) 354-3114.
  • The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is searching for a suspect they say is wanted for solicitation to commit first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Police identify the suspect as 23-year-old Bobby Taylor.  If you've seen him or know where he is, you're urged to call JSO at (904) 630-0500 or Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.

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