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Latest from Jacob Pickering

    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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The Latest News Headlines

  • Just a month after City of St. Augustine Beach leaders passed bans on the sale and distribution of plastic straws, plastic bags, and Styrofoam, it all may need to be rolled back. That's as a Florida appeals court has struck down a similar ordinance in Coral Gables. The court found that their ban violated a state law that stops local governments from regulating Styrofoam.  Attorney Jane West, who pushed for the St. Augustine Beach bans, tells our partner Action News Jax, that after the city passed the measures, they received a letter from the Florida Retail Federation threatening to sue.  'Now that they're armed with this very strong opinion in their favor, the city can't take the legal risk of getting sued and then having to pay all the attorney's fees in defending what is probably going to be a losing case,' says West.  She and other residents believe it'll likely be up to families and local businesses to cut down on their use of these materials on their own. The ban was set to take effect on January 1st, 2020. St. Augustine Beach Mayor Undine George released the following statement about this court decision: “I don’t believe the appellate decision reflects the majority opinion of Fl communities. Even our governor has expressed strong support for local communities’ right to regulate Styrofoam and single use plastics; we are the ones who see and feel their impact. Hopefully, local businesses will listen to the voice of the people and transition away from Styrofoam and single use plastics. Consumers want to patronize businesses who share their desire to protect our environment from harmful pollutants.”
  • The Jacksonville Beach Police Department is turning to the community for any information after a man was fatally shot outside his home. Police have now identified the victim as 28-year-old Jake Hall. Neighbors tell us he was a father of three kids.  Investigators say at this time, there's no clear motive or any information on a possible suspect. That's why they're asking neighbors within a 6 block radius of 17th Avenue North and 2nd Street North to check their doorbell cameras and security cameras for anything that might be of interest to police. They say the shooting happened around 9:40 PM, Thursday evening.  The police department says shootings for the community are rare. According to their stats, the last shooting was in August 2018.
  • The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office has released an extremely clear surveillance photo of two armed robbery suspects that they're working to identify. Police say they're accused of robbing the Circle K on St. Johns Bluff Road, Thursday night, just before 11:00 PM. Police are asking anyone with information about either suspect to contact the sheriff's office at (904) 630-0500 or Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-8477.
  • The plane that crashed in Tennessee on Thursday while carrying retired NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., his family and two pilots bounced at least twice before stopping and catching fire, according to investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board. >> Read more trending news  Officials said the incident happened as the Cessna Citation was landing at Elizabethton Municipal Airport at 3:40 p.m. An NBC Sports spokesperson said in a statement that Earnhardt, his wife Amy, his 15-month-old daughter Isla and two pilots were safe after the crash.  Update 2:35 p.m. EDT Aug. 16: Investigators will spend at least two days collecting evidence from the scene of the crash, Ralph Hicks, a senior investigator with NTSB, told reporters Friday. Authorities have reviewed surveillance footage from near the crash site which showed the plane bounced at least twice before coming down hard on one of the landing gears, Hicks said. 'You can actually see the right main landing gear collapsing in the video,' he said. 'The airplane continued down the runway off to the end, through a fence, and it came to stop ... on Highway 91.' Hicks said the crash site was about 1,000 feet past the end of the runway. The plane had taken off about 20 minutes before the crash from Statesville, North Carolina, Hicks said. The aircraft was not equipped with a data recorder, though Hicks said other instruments recorded some data. Officials are also analyzing a cockpit voice recorder. Authorities continue to investigate the cause of the crash. Update 2 p.m. EDT Aug. 16: Authorities are providing an update Friday on the investigation into Thursday's plane crash. Update 1:50 p.m. EDT Aug. 16: Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration said no injuries were reported as a result of the crash, although the Cessna 680A aircraft was destroyed. The Earnhardt family and the pilots were the only passengers listed on board when the crash happened. Authorities are expected to provide more updates on the incident at 2 p.m. news conference Friday. Update 11:50 a.m. EDT Aug. 16: Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board are scheduled to hold news conference Friday afternoon to update the public on the investigation into Thursday's crash.  Update 9:25 a.m. EDT Aug. 16: Earnhardt's sister, Kelley Earnhardt Miller, thanked God, supporters and medical staff early Friday in a Twitter post after Earnhardt and his family survived a fiery plane crash in Tennessee. 'Finally laying down for the night and want to say thank you to God, the angels among us, our pilots, first responders, medical staff, our NASCAR family and everyone that has reached out in whatever way to support us all,' Earnhardt Miller wrote in a post around 12:30 a.m. Friday. A nurse who witnessed the crash told WSOC-TV her instincts kicked in Thursday when she saw the jet skid off the runway. '(The) first thing that went through my mind was, 'Lord, I hope there was nobody in the plane that's still in the plane,' because it was completely engulfed,' she told WSOC-TV. She added that as she tried to help, the plane, it was smoking out the back and then, all of a sudden, it caught on fire.' An NBC Sports spokesperson said Thursday that Earnhardt was taken to a hospital but released a short while later. Authorities are investigating the cause of the accident. Update 9 a.m. Aug. 16: Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board were in Elizabethton on Friday morning, WJHL reported. Agency officials said Thursday that two NTSB officials were being sent to investigate the incident. Federal Aviation Administration officials were also expected to be on the scene Friday, WJHL reported. Original report: Retired NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his wife Amy Reimann were aboard a private jet when it crashed at the Elizabethton Airport, in Tennessee.  Carter County Sheriff Dexter Lunceford told WJHL that Dale Earnhardt Jr. was taken to an area hospital and his injuries are described as cuts and abrasions.  Lunceford also said that his wife and child were onboard as well as the family dog. The pilot and one other passenger was also onboard. Earnhardt Jr. sister, Kelley, tweeted that everyone involved survived the crash. 'We're incredibly grateful that Dale, his wife Amy, daughter Isla, and the two pilots are safe following today's accident,' NBC Sports said in a statement. 'After being discharged from the hospital, we communicated with Dale and his team, and we're all in agreement that he should take this weekend off to be with his family. 'We look forward to having him back in the booth next month at Darlington.' According to WJHL, emergency crews responded to the crash involving the Cessna Citation Latitude business jet that ran off the end of the runway Thursday afternoon. It's not clear if the plane was departing or arriving. Earnhardt retired as a full-time racer in 2017 and has been working as an analyst for NBC. He is part of the scheduled broadcast team for Saturday night's Cup Series event in Bristol, Tennessee.The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • It's an exciting day for the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park! The zoo held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for their new sloth exhibit. WOKV told you back in July, when the zoo brought in two Hoffman’s two-toed sloths named Teddy and Grizzly.  The zoo says the exhibit is part of the rainforest habitat as guests walk into the ‘Land of the Crocodiles.’ Despite sloths typically being solitary, the zoo has said Teddy and Grizzly share a strong bond.

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