The speed limit is a heady 10 mph, stretching across the St. Johns River from the Riverside Arts Market to Palm Avenue in San Marco.
The 4,654-foot-long, 12-foot wide Fuller Warren Bridge Shared Use Path, delayed since last fall, will finally open after a ribbon-cutting Thursday morning, providing views of The Cummer Gardens and Museum, Downtown Jacksonville and the nighttime glow of the Acosta Bridge.
The pathway is a rarity — the only pedestrian and bicycle shared-use path on a federal highway bridge.
“This is in keeping with FDOT’s mission in expanding mobility, increasing safety,” Daryl Goss, spokesman for the Florida Department of Transportation, said Monday as he stood at one of two viewing and rest areas atop the span. “We want to make our facilities as accessible to everyone including bicycles and pedestrians.”
The project is part of a large Interstate 95 and Interstate 10 interchange renovation project that also includes the Fuller Warren Bridge and the east side of Roosevelt Boulevard northbound between McDuff Avenue and Rosselle Street.
I-10 gets a dedicated ramp to Irene and Stockton streets to reduce weaving traffic merging from I-95 southbound to I-10 westbound. The state is widening the overpass from I-95 northbound to I-10 westbound, allowing for future improvements along I-10. The Fuller Warren Bridge’s northbound and southbound lanes have been widened from three to four to better handle the estimated 16,700 vehicles that traverse it daily, state statistics show.
Providing pedestrian and bicycle connections between the Riverside and San Marco communities, the new path joins other pedestrian river crossings on the Main Street and Acosta bridges, Goss said. And the new path is wide enough that a Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department unit could access it if someone was injured there, Goss said.
While the shared-use path has looked done for months, some final detail work was still being finished as workers were visible at its Riverside Avenue end on Monday. Like the rest of the construction industry, there were “unforeseen circumstances” in getting some material, Goss said.
“We have all experienced resource shortage, labor shortages. There were several major hurricanes that have impacted Florida,” he said. “Even though they may not hit here directly, as part of emergency response, some of those resources get diverted to those areas.”
As for completing the overall project, Goss said that could be done by later this spring.