City moves to appropriate $12.46 million from a Florida Department of Transportation grant toward the $38.9 million project.
Jacksonville’s Department of Public Works will submit legislation authorizing the city to appropriate $12.46 million from a Florida Department of Transportation grant to demolish a portion of the elevated concrete Hart Bridge Expressway.
A request by the department to introduce the bill was approved unanimously Monday by the Mayor’s Budget Review Board.
The $38.9 million project, which public works officials say will be completed by the end of 2021, plans to remove the ramp at Liberty Street between Gator Bowl and A. Philip Randolph boulevards, bringing a portion of the expressway to street-level.
City and FDOT officials would create an intersection at Gator Bowl Boulevard and install traffic signals, pedestrian and bike paths as “traffic calming improvements,” according to MBRC documents.
Removal of the expressway ramp will eliminate the physical barriers between parking Lot J near TIAA Bank Field and the Shipyards, east of Berkman Plaza II to WJCT Studios, and south of Bay Street and Gator Bowl Boulevard to the St. Johns River.
Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan has proposed a $2.5 billion redevelopment of both sites.
A legislative fact sheet dated July 26 says the bill would approve a Road Transfer Agreement, shifting ownership from the state to the city of a portion of State Road 228/Hart Bridge Expressway and ramps.
“The new traffic configuration will drive traffic from the elevated expressway to street level, providing access to the Sports and Entertainment Complex, the Talleyrand port area and Metropolitan Park,” states a project description from the public works department.
Plans to modify the ramp system have been in the works since January 2018.
The city’s $12.5 million portion will be paid for by debt and cover one-third of the project expenses. The remaining two-thirds of the cost will come from federal transportation and FDOT grants for $12.5 million each. An additional $1.5 million will be transferred from other city projects.
If approved by City Council, the legislation also will create a project fund to manage the money for the Hart Bridge ramp modifications.
After officials have cleared administrative hurdles, construction will take about 18 months.
The city issued a request for proposals July 29 for a consultant to provide construction engineering and inspection services for the Hart Bridge modifications. A public notice says bids for the project are due at 2 p.m. Aug. 21.
According to city Assistant Director of Public Affairs James Croft, the city and FDOT plan to complete the designs and advertise for construction bids in November with a bid opening in December.
Public Works officials want to issue a construction contract and Notice to Proceed with demolition and site work in early 2020 and complete construction by the end of 2021.
Specific dates have not been set.
Council approved Ordinance 2018-785 in December that gave the mayor's office authority to accept the $12.5 million from FDOT for the Hart Bridge ramp modifications.
Mayor Lenny Curry released terms Aug. 1 of a $233.3 million city-backed incentives package to develop Lot J. The proposed $450 million project would include a 300-unit residential tower, 200-room boutique hotel, 120,000-square-foot Class A office tower and a Live! Entertainment District.
Jaguars President Mark Lamping said in April that the Lot J groundbreaking will be after the Jaguars complete their regular season schedule Dec. 29.