Officials celebrate Expressway’s funding

Wesley LeBlanc
Posted 2/14/18

JACKSONVILLE – The final phase of the First Coast Expressway might finally find itself fully funded and included in the Florida Department of Transportation’s five-year plan.

While the FDOT …

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Officials celebrate Expressway’s funding

Posted

JACKSONVILLE – The final phase of the First Coast Expressway might finally find itself fully funded and included in the Florida Department of Transportation’s five-year plan.

While the FDOT could not confirm that the final phase of the expressway was 100 percent funded, or planning to be, both Marci Larson, the North Florida Transportation Organization public affairs manager, and NFTPO Chairman Diane Hutchings, confirmed that the plan for funding has been put in place.

“It is in the current five-year plan,” Hutchings said. “It still has to go to the legislature to get approved but it is very likely that it does.”

Larson said the FDOT Five-Year Plan was discussed at the TPO’s Feb. 8 meeting was able to confirm that a meeting took place on Feb. 8 where it was officially announced that the final phase of the expressway received 100 percent funding.

The first phase of construction began in 2013 and will open this summer, according to Hutchings. That section stretches from Blanding Boulevard and State Road 21 in Clay County north to Interstate 10 and U.S. Highway 90 in Duval County and cost the state approximately $208 million.

The central, second segment of the Expressway project involves new roadway from Blanding Boulevard, which is also known as State Road 21, in Middleburg running south and then east through Green Cove Springs and includes a new bridge over Black Creek near the Byron Road in the Lake Asbury community. The right-of-way acquisition on this second segment is currently underway. Construction on this segment of the project may start as early as January 2019. This segment in Clay County is part of the FDOT’s Five-Year Plan with combined funding of approximately $507 million.

The second phase is set to start early next year, according to the FDOT, and will run from State Road 21 in Middleburg to south of State Road 16 in Green Cove Springs near the St. Johns River. Phase two will cost approximately $507 million. Phase three includes a new bridge over the St. Johns River where the Shands Bridge currently stands and will connect to Interstate 95 in St. Johns County. No cost approximation has been announced.

The First Coast Expressway will be a multi-lane, limited access toll road that will cross parts of Duval, Clay and St. Johns counties, according to the FDOT. The total length of the expressway is approximately 46 miles and will feature electronic toll booths that will either detect a vehicle’s SunPass transponder device or scan a vehicle’s license plate for a toll-by-plate invoice in the mail.

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