JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Construction on a Median U-Turn intersection, or MUT, which will create a new traffic pattern for drivers riding along the intersection of Beach Boulevard and Southside Boulevard, started back in November of 2021.
According to The Florida Department of Transportation, the $6 million project is almost done and as a result of the new configuration, crashes at the intersection are expected to see a 10% decrease.
“The traffic has gotten so strong over the last few years, I used to get down Southside Boulevard in 7 minutes,” Robin Lewis said.
“How long would you say it takes now? It was 7 minutes but now?” asked Action News Jax’s Princess Jhané Stepherson.
“Oh 45,” Lewis said.
Lewis has lived in the area for nearly 45 years and has watched traffic get worse at the intersection of Beach and Southside boulevards.
FDOT officials say the MUT is expected to be ready for use this Thursday and early Friday, between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. According to FDOT, the completion of the MUT could change due to unforeseen circumstances or weather.
Lewis uses the intersection weekly.
“I go to the store all the time, I like to shop and running around with the grandchildren,” Lewis said.
FDOT said the MUT was designed to help improve safety, traffic flow and reduce congestion and conflict points at the intersection. The design includes new traffic lights and easier ways to get to Newell Boulevard and Eve Drive, which has oftentimes been a busy and difficult route.
FDOT said additional paving, resurfacing, ancillary work, and lane striping will also happen upon final configurations to the MUT.
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When asked if a MUT had been implemented anywhere else around Jacksonville or in the state of Florida, FDOT released this statement:
“Median U-Turn intersections have been commonplace throughout the country since the first one was implemented in the 1960s in Michigan. A signalized median U-turn intersection in the region is located at I-295 and Collins Road and another is under construction at I-95 and State Road 16.
“The Florida Department of Transportation has carefully studied and evaluated median U-turn (MUT) intersections as engineers and designers seek to improve safety and enhance traffic flow. The MUT intersection eliminates certain left turn movements and in turn reduces the number of traffic signal phases and conflict points at the main crossing intersection, resulting in improved intersection operations and enhanced safety.”