Q. Jacksonville Today newsletter reader Don H. has a question about a major traffic backup that he and others face on the city’s Southside, on Interstate 295 at Town Center Parkway.
“There is a bottleneck of traffic on I-295, going north, near Exit 52,” Don said. “Lanes leading to that stretch of road are blocked by orange barrels, causing an abrupt and dangerous backup. There has not been any construction or roadwork.”
A: The barrels are part of a $19.3 million road project started this fall by the Florida Department of Transportation. The project is set to be done by spring. Barrels line the approaches to the Town Center Parkway exits in both directions of I-295, causing some traffic backups even after the morning’s rush hour.
FDOT spokesman Hampton Ray said the project runs on I-295 between Butler Boulevard and Beach Boulevard, designed to add a single lane in both directions to improve drainage and enhance safety. The project will include asphalt widening and new shoulder construction, curb and gutter work, drainage improvements, guardrails, highway signs, lighting and intelligent transportation systems.
“Motorists along the corridor have already experienced traffic shifts and intermittent overnight ramp closures as crews work to improve the roadway,” Ray said. “Motorists can expect additional traffic shifts throughout construction as crews work to add capacity and improve the corridor.”
Additionally, traffic is expected to increase throughout the holiday season near big retail centers like St. Johns Town Center, which is just west of the exit our reader noted, along with numerous other retail centers, hotels, restaurants and apartments. FDOT is reminding drivers to be prepared for potential delays and plan ahead.
FYI: As part of this FDOT project, drivers can expect overnight detours of the I-295 northbound exit ramp to Beach Boulevard now through Saturday, along with detours of the I-295 southbound on-ramp. Those ramps will close at 10 p.m. each day and reopen by 5 a.m. the next morning. Follow the detour signs, FDOT said.