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Tolled express lanes coming to Jacksonville

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Updated: 12/09/2013 11:45 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Your commute on parts of Interstate 295 could soon get a lot faster, but the convenience will come at a price.

According to the Florida Department of Transportation, by 2016 express lanes will be open for business for drivers, like Eric Alston, who are willing to pay a little extra to skip traffic.

"For those times when traffic on 295 is bumper to bumper and you're in a rush, that would definitely help," said Alston.

The FDOT went over details of the project during their annual public hearing Monday. The plan will expand lanes from six to eight, one lane will be express only.

The first project will span 5.7 miles from I-95 south to San Jose Boulevard.

The next phase will stretch about 5 miles from J.Turner Butler Boulevard to State Road 9B. According to FDOT Planning and Environmental Manager, Bill Henderson, the total price tag is estimated at about $247 million.

"What we think the express lanes will do is if you're willing to pay a price it'll give you that reliability to get to your destination," said Henderson.

Henderson said the cost to use the express lanes will vary.

"If the traffic is real light, I may not need the express lane, so it may be as low as quarter, and if the traffic gets heavy and I really need to get to my destination, I may be willing to pay a dollar," said Henderson.

For I-295 commuters like Rachel Onsum, it's a project that's long overdue.

"They work well in California and they work well in Houston. It's something that definitely Florida needs, especially Jacksonville," said Onsum.

The tolls will be collected by SunPass, the state's prepaid toll system. The FDOT will be receiving bids from contractors next year for the first portion of the project. Construction is expected to begin in May and it'll take about two years to complete.

The plan also includes a shoulder lane that will separate the three general use lanes from the express lane, but according to the FDOT, the shoulder could be turned into an extra express lane in the future.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Action News Jacksonville

Realchange - 12/10/2013 11:10 AM
0 Votes
So if you can afford tolls you get ahead of everyone else. Set of roads for those well off everyone else to the back of the line or bus if you will. Don't like it tough nothing you can do about it. Jacksonville is out control with its officials and the people better start making some serious recalls to the few officials still elected in office. This means Mayor, Sheriff, School board and others. They have started using non elected appointees to shove things down the people's throat then say hey it wasn't me its this guy who doesn't owe anything to the voters. It needs to stop.

Gunny48 - 12/10/2013 10:01 AM
1 Vote
So they get to the "common" exits faster...I ain't letting 'em in!!! Bwahahahaha

JEANNEB - 12/10/2013 8:10 AM
0 Votes
Occasionally I use the toll roads in South Florida while visiting family. Those tolls are regulated in price. If Jax is considering variable price tolls dependent on traffic volume it will open up multiple law suits. A trial of two cars traveling exactly the speed limit entering at the same time on 295 and the toll road and exiting at different times would negate the toll. Just saying. Cameras would also be helpful in proving that paying extra during heavy traffic times is worth the toll.

RFM2009 - 12/10/2013 6:19 AM
2 Votes
Is there anything ELSE these GOOFS can think of to gouge the taxpayers for?? We already PAY for the use of these roads in the taxes added to the price of fuel! This is just another money grubbing scheme!
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