Jacksonville, FL - While it’s still not clear exactly how the City will move forward with fixing the massive hole which opened up on Liberty Street earlier this year, we’re now getting a better idea of some of the cost that could come with that.
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry’s budget proposal includes $65 million dollars over several years in capital improvements for that project. While the City hasn’t come out with an exact redevelopment plan at this point, we pressed to learn more about what the cost projection covers.
The Mayor’s Office confirms the money is the “current estimated maximum exposure to the city for the in-kind replacement of the Coastline Drive and Liberty Street bridge structures and the old Courthouse parking deck”. In-kind replacement means they would replace the current structures with completely new structures in the same location, according to the Mayor’s Office.
Replacing the structures is just one of the options being considered, however, with other options including filling in the bulkhead or demolishing it entirely. The Mayor’s Office says the ultimate scope of what they do- and cost that comes with that- will be largely influenced by redevelopment of the old Courthouse site, which is currently vacant.
The current capital proposal includes $5 million for the project for the upcoming fiscal year- $4.5 million in available cash and $500,000 in transfer from another project. The remaining portion of the tab is spread over several years, currently tagged as borrowing, but that is subject to change as the process moves forward.
The project justification detailed with the funding proposal notes that “recent inspections have noted serious decay issues” at the site. Before the collapse, Liberty Street had been rated as “structurally deficient”.
While the hole opened in Liberty Street, much of the adjacent Coastline Drive has either been closed or had restricted traffic since the collapse. The courthouse parking lot which is bordered by the roads is also closed. While these are commonly called City roads, because they’re built over the River, they’re actually considered bridge structures. Results from a recent Florida Department of Transportation inspection of Coastline Drive are still pending. The Mayor’s Office says they will use those to assess any immediate repairs needed.