Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday announced an additional $78 million to improve the safety and mobility on Interstate 95 and Butler Boulevard.
The traffic count on eastbound Bulter Boulevard is expected to double over the next 20 years, from 24,000 people a day to nearly 50,000, which is the reason Scott said improvements are in the works.
The funding is included in Scott’s Florida Families First budget he unveiled last month.
“Every day, motorists line up on I-95 to exit onto JTB, and it’s dangerous — so many cars to be bottlenecked on the interstate,” Scott said. “People would rather get home to their families rather than sit on JTB or I-95.”
“This $78 million investment means families will be safer, businesses will be able to save money and move goods faster, and Florida families won’t spend nearly as much time in traffic,” he said.
“This project could essentially save lives as it improves access for those trying to reach St. Vincent’s Medical Center Southside and the Mayo Clinic,” he said.
The investment will focus on three primary improvements.
First, the Florida Department of Transportation will construct a flyover ramp for I-95 southbound traffic heading east onto Butler Boulevard to provide a free-flowing direct connection.
Next, an overpass will be constructed for Butler Boulevard westbound traffic to pass over westbound traffic from Belfort Road. This overpass will eliminate merging conflicts and reduce congestion at Belfort Road.
Lastly, the department will reconstruct the I-95 northbound off-ramp. The reconstructed ramp will provide direct access to westbound Butler Boulevard from I-95 northbound. That movement is currently prohibited.
Scott said the project will reduce travel time by 10-15 minutes and boost the local economy.
“Gov. Scott’s transportation budget fully funds the department’s improvements, which will increase capacity, reduce congestion and create private-sector jobs,” said Ananth Prasad, department secretary. “I applaud Gov. Scott’s continued focus on funding strategic transportation investments, which strengthens our economy and lowers the cost of living for Florida’s families.”
“We appreciate the governor’s investment in Jacksonville,” Mayor Alvin Brown said. “The I-95/JTB intersection is a challenge for too many of our citizens, and I’m glad the governor has prioritized this project in his budget. By relieving congestion, we’ll make commutes safer and enhance commerce,” he said.
WJXT Channel 4 is a Daily Record news partner.