JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Residents in southern Duval and northern St. Johns counties are anxiously awaiting the opening of State Road 9B.
For almost three years, construction crews have worked to complete the stretch of road that will eventually connect Philips Highway/U.S. 1 with the I-295 east beltway.
The $75 million project was set to open last fall but according to the Florida Department of Transportation it was delayed to add more pavement.
"So that in the future we could open it to six lanes instead of four lanes," said Gina Busscher of the Florida Department of Transportation.
The highway will initially open with two lanes in each direction.
With the addition of 16 feet of pavement they will eventually be able to have three lanes in each direction.
According to Busscher, the new addition is a direct result of the increasing growth and development of southern Duval and northern St. Johns counties.
"It would be a good economic benefit for those businesses and the residential areas that were planned in the area such as Nocatee or Riverton. All of those come into consideration when we're planning these types of transportation improvements," said Busscher.
SR-9B, which will stretch for five miles, is only the first of three phases.The next step is to extend SR-9B from U.S.1 to Interstate 95.
The third phase will eventually connect all the way down to St. Johns County.