Promises made, promises kept.
In Feb. 2013, Gov. Rick Scott said there would be an eastbound JTB flyover ramp at I-95.
48 months and $78 million later, that project is in place — and is expected to abate traffic at one of the most challenged traffic corridors in Northeast Florida, starting with its Sept. 6 opening to traffic.
One elected leader on hand for the Wednesday ribbon cutting who knew something about Jacksonville traffic — U.S. Rep. John Rutherford — noted that “the number of lives this flyover saves will be substantial.”
Rutherford, a former Jacksonville Sheriff for three terms ending in 2015, knows better than most the public safety impact created by the previous road design.
For Gov. Scott, this project is part of a commitment to infrastructure; he noted that a “million dollars each day in the Jacksonville area” is spent on infrastructural improvements. Moreover, the $6B FDOT budget that was in place when Scott came in is now over $10B per annum.
“I remember being in Jacksonville quite a bit and seeing the backup when you’re going south on 95, trying to go east on JTB. The Sheriff — now Congressman — talked a lot about car accidents that happened on that … this is great. It’s going to get opened next week. Over 112,000 motorists use this on a daily basis, so this is a big deal,” Scott said.
Asked about the four plus years it took to construct this offramp, Scott noted “we’ve got to do it in a safe manner” and one that doesn’t impact traffic.
“A lot of work is done at night,” Scott added.
State Reo. Clay Yarborough noted that Scott was “here in [his] very first term to start this project,” and now he’s “here to finish it.”
In a real sense, this flyover will be one of Scott’s legacies for Jacksonville.