I-295 Express Lanes: Get Ready To Open Your Pocketbooks

January 21, 2014 63 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Get ready to open your pocket books to bypass congestion in Jacksonville. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is moving forward on their plans to add automated toll lanes to I-295 throughout the Southside. An informal open house will be held this evening for those interested in learning how FDOT plans to deal with 21st century gridlock. In the meantime, here's a look at what's coming to Jacksonville later this year.

If you're a regular commuter on the I-295 Beltway in the Southside, you may be aware of the constant backups during rush hour. Don't worry, a solution to alleviate your pain is on the way. However, it's going to cost you a little more.

According to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), your time is valuable. Thus, you can pay a varying toll to ride in "Express Lanes" when you decide your time is more valuable than sitting in traffic. After all, the choice is yours.

Later this year, tolled "Express Lanes" will be added to a 5.7 mile I-295 segment between the Buckman Bridge and I-95. In 2015, a second 4 mile project to add them in the median of I-295 between SR 9B and JTB will get underway. The total construction cost for this system will be close to $247 million. A third segment stretching from the Dames Point Bridge to I-95 on the Northside was deemed unfeasible earlier this year. FDOT is attempting to shift funds intended for that segment to the controversial widening of the Fuller Warren Bridge.

Already in major cities like Washington, DC, Miami, and Houston, "Express Lanes" are essentially an "expressway-within-an-expressway." Anticipated to be added to the existing median of I-295, the new lanes will provide more capacity in areas where traffic congestion is a major problem. Initial plans for I-295 indicate there will be an express lane added in each direction, with space for additional lanes when the need arises.

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