FDOT crews work on land, water for highway improvements

FDOT crews work on land, water for highway improvements
Pier construction activity under the Fuller Warren Bridge (Photo courtesy of FDOT)

Construction is in full swing as foundation work in the St. Johns River continues and new piers are constructed to create a shared-use path for pedestrians and cyclists along the south side of the Fuller Warren Bridge.

The multi-faceted Interstate 10 and Interstate 95 interchange improvement project will add two lanes to the Fuller Warren Bridge – one for northbound and one for southbound traffic, and connect San Marco to Riverside neighborhoods with a dedicated path that can be accessed by foot or bicycle. 

“It’s something we have not had in the past,” said Odette Struys, Florida Department of Transportation spokesperson. “I think it’s going to look very attractive.”

The shared-use path, once complete, will be 12-feet-wide and separated from traffic by a 10-foot shoulder and a 3-and-a-half-foot barrier wall with an inward facing 10-foot-tall fence. It will have galvanized steel railings on the outside. With a substantial clearance and about a mile long across the river, the views should be outstanding, too.

“It’s certainly one of the highest interstate bridges you’ll be able to walk or bike across in the state of Florida,” Struys said.

The project also includes I-10 improvements with construction underway for a dedicated ramp to Irene and Stockton Streets to reduce weaving traffic merging from I- 95 southbound to I-10 westbound. Commuters are able to see the progress as the mechanically stabilized earth wall takes shape in the area, and construction crews begin to fill it in with dirt.

Construction will also begin on the foundation work to widen the overpass from I-95 northbound to I-10 westbound in mid-September. In preparation for the expansion of those lanes, exit 351A, which carries motorists from I- 95 southbound to I-10 westbound, closed for 10 months on Aug. 17. The primary exit for motorists travelling from I-95 southbound to I-10 westbound, exit 351B, will remain open during construction.

Crews will also fence off a portion of the John Gorrie Dog Park at Riverside Park as construction begins to widen the overpass. Struys said they have been working closely with the City of Jacksonville on the fencing and park reconfiguration, and by early September dog park-goers will see crews in the area.

Struys said the sound barriers planned for residents along the east side of U.S. 17 northbound between McDuff Avenue and Rosselle Street and along the south side of eastbound I-10 between Stockton and College Streets are still in the design phase and will be added to the construction schedule once complete.

Crews for Archer Western Contractors, LLC, the contractor awarded the project, have used 520 of the 1,283 current construction days planned for the project and a little more than 40 percent of the $117.6 million current construction costs as of Aug. 1, she said. While construction days and costs are subject to change based on weather, unforeseen circumstances, holidays and special events, at present the project is on track and on schedule with construction crews working in tandem to bring the project to an end summer of 2020.

Struys said the speed limit for the construction zone over the Fuller Warren Bridge is 45 mph and will be for the duration of the project.

“People are all in a rush, but we all want to get home safely,” she said. “We have construction crews right there on the shoulder working at night. And it’s a bridge, too, so you can imagine with the winds and speeding traffic it makes for an unsafe situation for our crews.”

Boaters should be extra alert, too. Construction barges are moored along the south side of the bridge in downtown Jacksonville and will be for the duration of the project.

“It’s so important that people realize it’s a construction zone,” she said.

The project, which started at the end of February 2017, will help ease and manage the flow of traffic along the I-95 and I-10 interchange. “About 250,000 vehicles use the interchange daily and that’s expected to rise to approximately 290,000 by 2040,” Struys said. “To accommodate that increase an expansion of lanes is now needed.”

Construction will be limited to the south side of the bridge. Once construction is complete on the shared-use path and two new lanes, the current median on the Fuller Warren Bridge will be moved over one lane to the south to give the northbound traffic the additional lane.

“It will be a very nice landmark for our city,” she said. “I think people need to be excited about construction because it is an economic growth indicator that our city’s growing, and it’s just a temporary inconvenience to a long-term solution.”

For more information visit http://your10and95.com

By Kelly Kelly
Resident Community News

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