This week in Building Up Jax: we answer a reader’s question about the I-295 Beltway’s express lane project and how the tolling will work. Additionally, we have updates about Riverplace Tower along the Southbank and more.
Reader Question: I-295 Beltway Express Lanes
One of our readers, Karen G., asked us this week about the future of the I-295 Beltway as well as how the future I-295 express lanes will work.
The currently ongoing project to add express lanes to busy stretches of I-295 will likely be the last of the major construction along the beltway for a while once it finally wraps up, as the focus shifts to development of the final stretches of I-795. (I-795, formerly known as State Road 9B, will run from I-295 straight through to St. Johns County.)
Unfortunately, it’ll be a while before the express lane project is completed. It was divided into two phases by the Florida Department of Transportation. Phase I of the express lanes stretches from I-95 to Buckman Bridge; it began in 2014 with the anticipation of launching in late 2016, but construction delays have pushed the phase’s expected completion date to 2017.
The second phase, spanning from Butler Blvd. to I-795, has begun the first steps toward being constructed. It’ll likely take around the same amount of time to complete, meaning construction on I-295 will likely be ongoing through at least 2018.
Once completed, the express lanes are expected to aide in cutting down on congestion along the busy beltway. Revenue from the lanes will be used for maintaining the roadways, with anything extra going toward other city projects.
Here’s how the tolling will work. Drivers will need a pre-paid SunPass card to use the express lanes, as all tolling will be done electronically. The toll will be deducted from your SunPass card as you pass the electronic tolling system. Toll prices will adjust throughout the day based on the current traffic conditions. If traffic is light, tolls will be at their lowest; if there’s major congestion, the prices will shoot up to ensure that only people who truly need the express lanes will be using them. Digital signage at the entrance to the express lanes will list the current rate.
Thank you for submitting your question, Karen!
Riverplace Tower “sale”
Riverplace Tower sold this past week for $53 million – sort of.
The Southbank building had a minor switching-of-hands resulting in previous part-owner Lingerfelt CommonWealth Partners becoming the building’s sole owner. The company also owns the nearby Stein Mart building.
Additionally, 5Loaves 2Fish Café was issued a permit this week for its brick-and-mortar build-out at Riverplace Tower.
- A permit was issued for modifications to Breezy Jazz Club at 119 W. Adams St. The club was originally planning to open in the summer, but now it looks like it will open closer to the beginning of the year.
- Pita Pit plans to open a new location in the shopping center at 13423 Beach Blvd.
- Folk Food has shut its doors permanently at its Hogan St. location, according to Jax Daily Record.
- Mayor Lenny Curry called for the demolition of Hart Bridge‘s expressway leading into downtown this week. Curry believes that the expressway is outdated and crumbling. No word on if this is something that will actually become a reality – Curry offered little detail as to how he would fund and accomplish this project.