Southside Overpass Plan

30 04 2005

A Jacksonville Transportation Authority study recommends $185 million in road improvements at 11 intersections but not the controversial Southside Boulevard-Baymeadows Road overpass.

The recommendation includes building three overpasses and adding high-tech traffic signals and additional turn lanes. It also advises buying land along Southside Boulevard between Beach and Butler boulevards for future upgrades.

The analysis, ordered after prices skyrocketed for seven Southside overpasses outlined in the Better Jacksonville Plan, came out as City Hall updated its projections Thursday to show that the $2.2 billion plan faces a shortfall of $658 million for road projects alone. Earlier this month, the cost of the Better Jacksonville Plan’s road projects was estimated to be short $760 million.

The Southside-Baymeadows overpass was estimated to cost $73 million, the most expensive one in the plan.

The study calls for the construction of overpasses on Atlantic Boulevard at Southside and Kernan boulevards, and where Beach and Kernan boulevards meet. Other improvements, such as additional turn lanes, would be made on Atlantic Boulevard at Hodges Boulevard, Girvin Road and San Pablo Road, and where Atlantic and the Arlington Expressway meet Monument Road.

The high-tech traffic signals would be at three other intersections.

The study encompassed an area bordered by the Wonderwood Expressway to the north, the Intracoastal Waterway to the east, Butler Boulevard to the south and Interstate 95 to the west.

The $185 million in road improvements were chosen from a “wish list” of $677.1 million in potential projects. Blaylock said the projects were chosen because of need and cost.

Jacksonville Mayor Peyton’s strategy for paying for the Better Jacksonville Plan road budget overruns calls for prioritizing improvements and generating additional dollars both from the city and the state. Voters approved the plan in 2000; it also included a new downtown library and ballpark.

Of the $658 million in overruns, $602 million is from escalating costs primarily of land acquisition, and $56 million comes from expensive add-ons, such as additional lanes on Kernan Boulevard.

Peyton’s proposal calls for pooling $350 million from the Better Jacksonville Plan and $100 million from JTA-issued bonds, along with state and federal matching dollars.

Source: Florida-Times Union


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