WOKV rode through the new lanes where traffic from I-95 Northbound heading in to Downtown will shift, beginning the morning of January 11th. The merge to the Bridges is seen forking to the right. The cones on the left mark where traffic on the new lanes will merge back on to the existing highway to connect to the Fuller Warren.
It’s a traffic change that impacts just about everyone who lives in the Jacksonville-area.
The Florida Department of Transportation is shifting all Northbound lanes of I-95 between the San Diego Road overpass- north of Emerson- and south of the Fuller Warren. This move will completely remove traffic from the existing bridge structure and move it on to newly constructed lanes to the right. WOKV rode through those new lanes with the FDOT, who tells us everything is still going on schedule, with just days remaining.
It’s part of the Overland Bridge project- this portion of the highway has been a frequent site of emergency repairs in the last year, with holes opening up because of the age of the road and the high traffic load it carries. With all of the traffic removed from the existing lanes, they will be demolished and rebuilt. Traffic is expected to be shifted for several months.
The shift will be put in place January 8-10, with it fully in effect by your morning commute Monday, January 11. The new roadway will be three lanes for most of the stretch, but will connect to all existing ramps and have additional lanes accessing Prudential and the Main Street and Acosta bridges.
Aside from being on newly constructed lanes, the drive itself will not vary much from what you experience now. The most significant change will be the on-ramp from Philips. While it’s in the same area as the existing ramp, traffic will now merge on to the highway from the left, instead of the right. Traffic will continue to use the same ramp from Atlantic on to the highway, but the merge will happen a little quicker than what you see under the current traffic pattern.
Crews will begin the shift the night of Friday, January 8th. Ramps to the Main Street Bridge, Acosta Bridge, and Prudential Drive will be closed overnight. Traffic using the on-ramps at Atlantic Boulevard and Philips will be detoured through the weekend, with signs posted along the route directing the way and JSO and FHP assisting.
By the morning rush on Monday, January 11th, the FDOT plans to have the traffic fully shifted.
The highway will reconnect to the existing lanes just south of the Fuller Warren. At no time will the I-95 NB traffic be detoured off the highway. Southbound lanes will not be affected at this time, but there is a similar lane shift being planned for those lanes in the Spring.
During the construction, the speed limit is 45 miles per hour. FDOT urges you to be cautious and alert during the early days of this major shift while drivers get accustomed to the new route. You should also keep in mind that GPS navigation apps will likely not reflect the traffic shift.
The overall Overland Bridge project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2016. The current bridge structure was built in the 1950s and was designed for a less substantial traffic load than what it currently sees, prompting the FDOT to take on this big overhaul.