A busy Interstate 95 interchange in Volusia County that gets lots of traffic during Bike Week could be rebuilt to help with congestion.
No one from the public voiced concerns or gave feedback as the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) presented the $215.4 million project and disclosed it wants to replace the current I-95 and U.S.1 interchange with a diverging diamond interchange. FDOT representatives explained the proposal during a virtual town hall meeting.
FDOT said the $215 million price tag — which includes $169 million for construction — was higher than previously estimated and also now includes projected right-of-way costs. Two businesses, a Sunoco gas station and the Florida Citrus World store, located on one parcel would get displaced, according to FDOT public documents.
FDOT stressed that the construction is currently unfunded. But the interchange has been tapped as a contender to get fast-tracked and funded as part of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Moving Florida Forward proposed plan to prioritize spending $7 billion on 20 major infrastructure projects.
FDOT noted the current plan would redesign the I-95 and U.S. 1 interchange in Ormond Beach and make renovations along a one-mile stretch of U.S. 1 from Broadway Avenue to Destination Daytona Lane. FDOT is evaluating whether to widen from four lanes to six lanes the stretch from Broadway to Destination Daytona.
“This project is needed to improve traffic operations and mobility, reduce congestion and enhance safety for all modes of travel, including bicyclists and pedestrians,” a FDOT official said during the meeting.
The I-95 interchange, built in the 1960s, is outdated and no longer meets current standards, the state agency said.
The loop ramps and the I-95 bridges over U.S. 1 and the railroad tracks also don’t meet modern FDOT standards, authorities said.
The area is expected to only become busier and more congested as more people move to Ormond Crossing and Plantation Oaks, according to FDOT.
“The analysis forecasts traffic out to the year 2050,” an FDOT official said in the hearing. “Traffic is predicted to increase by more than 40% on I-95 and will more than double on U.S. 1.”
In studying the interchange, FDOT officials said they considered alternatives ranging from what happens if the existing interchange remains the same or if it’s replaced with an offset intersection interchange or a diverging diamond interchange.
Ultimately, FDOT said building a diamond interchange made the most sense because it eliminates the need for left turning vehicles to cross opposing traffic and reduces the potential for wrong-way crashes on the ramp.
“In general, U.S. 1 traffic approaching the (diamond interchange) will cross over at signalized intersections, which then provides free-flowing movements for the large number of vehicles turning left to get on to I-95. The left turns exiting I-95 merge with the U.S. 1 traffic rather than cross it. This configuration improves traffic flow.”
FDOT said public comment leaned in favor of the diamond interchange, which helped sway the recommendation as well.
Moving forward, FDOT said it will need to acquire 9.7 acres for the right-away, affecting 18 parcels and 15 property owners.