Transportation officials are planning for future growth of the area, with projects that will change the way people move around downtown and new highways to move drivers faster between counties.
Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center
The Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) is creating a new transportation hub, near the Prime Osborn Convention Center, that will connect the city bus system with Greyhound and other intercity bus carriers, as well as future Amtrak and commuter rail stations.
“The Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center (JRTC) will become an economic catalyst for the region and for the many people who worked to build the regional transportation networks we use today and rely on for our livelihood,” says JTA CEO Nat Ford.
The JRTC will also connect to the Ultimate Urban Circulator, a system that will upgrade the current Automated Skyway Express rail system to transport workers and visitors around the city.
JTA envisions using Autonomous Vehicles that can transport people with peak efficiency along the Skyway system.
First Coast Expressway
It’s not just downtown Jacksonville that is changing. Major projects are altering the landscape throughout the seven-county Northeast Florida region.
The first leg of the First Coast Expressway, a new tollway running from the Westside of Jacksonville through Clay County into St. Johns County, is opening in 2018.
Projections of strong population growth in Clay County prompted construction of the new highway, giving county residents easier connectivity to the surrounding communities.
“This was a need for their community,” says Hampton Ray of the Florida Department of Transportation. “We’re seeing some tremendous growth in the region.”
The first segment of the 46-mile tollway connects I-10 in Jacksonville to Blanding Boulevard. The second leg will run from Blanding to State Road 16 at the St. Johns River.
The final leg includes a new bridge across the river, where the Shands Bridge currently stands, with the road connecting to I-95 in St. Johns County.