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Road projects restart after time out for Super Bowl


The Times-Union

Asplurge of road work will hit Jacksonville streets now that Super Bowl XXXIX is over.

To minimize road construction during the Super Bowl, the state Department of Transportation and City Hall deferred some projects until after the game and temporarily stopped construction that was under way. Now that the football helmets and more than 100,000 visitors are gone, hard hats will be out in force.

The biggest project is a new $149 million interchange at Interstate 95 and Interstate 10 near downtown. Called the "Big I," the interchange will take six years to build, making it the most expensive and time-consuming project in Jacksonville history. The Transportation Department will kick off construction Tuesday.

On Monday, the state is scheduled to begin paving four major roads -- San Jose Boulevard in Mandarin, Busch Drive and Main Street in north Jacksonville, and 103rd Street on the Westside.

City Hall will start Monday with reconstruction of Hendricks Avenue from Prudential Drive to Mitchell Avenue, a project scheduled for completion in October 2006. Hendricks Avenue will lose on-street parking as it's turned into a three-lane road with widened sidewalks and bike lanes. The removal of street parking will be done in phases, starting with the north end of Hendricks and moving south, said city spokeswoman Marcy Cook. Signs will direct drivers to parking lots off Hendricks Avenue.

The city waited until after the Super Bowl so Hendricks Avenue wouldn't be torn up when drivers traveled between downtown and San Marco's popular restaurants.

The state adjusted its schedule for the Super Bowl so construction zones would not confuse visitors.

"Obviously, we've got a lot of projects coming out of the box at once, so there's a lot of work coming in a short period of time," Transportation Department spokesman Mike Goldman said Thursday. "But in hindsight, it was probably the right decision when you look at the location of the projects."

For instance, the state could have begun construction last November on the Big I. But that junction of I-95 and I-10 was heavily used by visitors traveling through Jacksonville and into downtown.

On March 7, the state plans to start widening Interstate 95 between Lem Turner Road and Heckscher Drive in north Jacksonville. That work will include building a new six-lane Trout River Bridge.

The new projects will join those under construction before the Super Bowl but went on hiatus for a week around the game. DOT has resumed construction of the interchange at I-95 and I-295 in south Jacksonville, scheduled for completion by mid-2006. Smaller projects like widening downtown-area Riverside Avenue, slated for completion by summer, also are back in action.

david.bauerleinjacksonville.com, (904) 359-4581

This story can be found on Jacksonville.com at http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stor..._17943783.shtml.

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