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.