Another big change is coming for Jacksonville drivers on I-95.
Newly rebuilt lanes of I-95 southbound just after the Fuller Warren Bridge are slated to open this weekend. With the opening of those lanes comes a big change in the traffic pattern, because there will be a decision point at the base of the Bridge where you’ll commit to going to the Southside, or US 1 or Atlantic.
For I-95 southbound drivers who are heading to the Southside- not much changes. You will take I-95 south over the Bridge and keep driving straight, but traffic will now connect to three newly rebuilt lanes of the highway. If you stay on that main stretch of I-95, there will be no option to exit until Emerson.
After the new lanes open and the traffic shift takes effect, the lanes that you are currently driving on will become collector-distributor lanes, meaning they collect limited traffic and only provide exits for a few select routes.
For drivers leaving Downtown on the Main Street or Acosta- not much changes. You will drive on the lanes that are currently being used, but the difference is that those lanes will eventually connect to the new I-95, whereas now the lanes simply become I-95.
For I-95 southbound drivers who want to take US 1 or Atlantic- you’ll need to exit at the base of the Fuller Warren. There will be a new exit lane on the right just after the San Marco exit, which will ultimately connect you to the lanes that we’re driving on now. Once you’re connected, the traffic pattern continues as you know it now- with the exit to Atlantic on the left and to Philips on the right.
While the FDOT is only opening one exit lane from I-95 southbound to US 1 and Atlantic at this stage, they will open a second one later in the project.
The FDOT says the change is set to be in effect Saturday at 8PM. Prep work will begin Friday night, although there is no clear word at this point what kind of lane closures- if any- you should expect. The opening of the new lanes is subject to the weather.
This is a similar concept to what the FDOT did on I-95 northbound in the same area. Back in October, newly rebuilt lanes of I-95 northbound opened, and the lanes that had been used during the construction became designated only for Downtown traffic. As it stands, if you want to get to the Main Street, Acosta, or Prudential, you have to exit just north of Emerson. If you do not exit, the highway carries you straight over the Fuller Warren.
The overall project, known as the Overland Bridge project, is slated to be completed in the Spring. It’s aim is to improve the flow of traffic by adding more lanes, while reducing the amount of weaving and lane changing by providing the designated lanes. FDOT says they will have signage up to help with the changes, but they’re asking you to use caution as you and other drivers get used to the changes.