I-95 construction could last through decade

By Jim Piggott, General assignment reporter, jpiggott@wjxt.com
Christopher Yazbec, News editor, News4Jax.com, cyazbec@wjxt.com
Published On: Jan 09 2014 03:42:28 PM EST
Updated On: Jan 09 2014 09:22:53 PM EST

The construction work being blamed for a crack in the middle of I-95 is called the Overland Bridge Project. The repairs stretch from San Marco to Emerson Street.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

The Overland Bridge Replacement Project, which underwent a hiccup when a lane of Interstate 95 buckled Thursday morning, is a 2.3-mile stretch of I-95, south of the Fuller Warren Bridge that runs though the San Marco area.

The project is causing some major traffic shifts, and now with more worked planned for the Fuller Warren Bridge, traffic could be tied up until the end of the decade.

The Overland Bridge project is scheduled to be complete by summer 2016. But the Florida Department of Transportation says it's about 10 percent behind schedule, which is about a month.

Workers began construction about a year ago. The idea is to replace the bridges that run over Hendricks Avenue, Kings Street and Montana Avenue, all in San Marco leading to the Fuller Warren Bridge. FDOT officials say the conditions of the overland bridges are some of the worst in the country.

"They were older bridges. They were deteriorating," FDOT spokesman Mike Goldman said. "We have put a lot of maintenance money into it. It reached a point where the inspections showed you either had to repair it or replace it."

Part of the plan is to build service roads in the area that will take care of the local traffic and allow the interstate traffic to stay in its own lanes.

All of it hooks up to the Fuller Warren. The plan now involves adding even more lines to that bridge and make improvements to the other side of the bridge toward Riverside.

While it sounds good to move traffic, not everyone is happy.

Eva Shackford lives in the shadow of the project in St. Nicholas. She said the noise has not been too bad, but she dreads when the construction is over.

"I'm worried to see it done because i'm worried it's supposed -- it's going to be an encroachment to our lifestyle," Shackford said.

She believes the new roads will take away from her quaint neighborhood. Others are wondering about the construction and what will happen down the line.

"It's safe. It's constantly inspected. It's constantly maintained," Goldman said about the Overland Bridge during construction. "What happened early this morning is it was old pavement. And it's really hard to predict these depressions under the old pavement."

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