One of the busiest roads in Northeast Florida will be undergoing a year-long construction project, which begins this week.
The Florida Department of Transportation is improving Blanding Boulevard in Clay County from Kingsley Avenue near Orange Park High School to Knight Boxx Road five miles south.
The $4.9 million project is scheduled to be completed in spring 2015. The work includes paving, drainage and sidewalk repairs, signal upgrades and a median modification.
Laurie Sanderson, spokeswoman with the Florida Department of Transportation, said drivers might see one or two northbound lanes of Blanding Boulevard closed from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Southbound lane closures are scheduled between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.
Sanderson said at least one lane in each direction of Blanding Boulevard will always be open.
Mike McFarland drives Blanding Boulevard daily on his motorcycle and said he's looking forward to an improved road.
"It'd be outstanding because you have to watch wherever you're going, especially with a bike," McFarland said.
Sanderson said the plan to modify and resurface Blanding Boulevard was put into the work program five years ago to allow funding to build up for the project.
"As the top layer of the roadway starts to wear into the base layer, you have to maintain it in order to keep the roadway safe (and) have traction for motorists,” Sanderson said. “And also once the top layer starts to wear off, you get into that base layer and that gets into a more expensive repair."
The median modification in the project will restrict drivers on Parkridge Avenue from turning left onto Blanding Boulevard to try to reduce the potential for crashes at that intersection.
“It makes me feel a lot safer,” McFarland said, “because people can't cross in front of you at the last minute like they do sometimes.”