The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has opened new dynamically-priced Express Lanes on Interstate 295, operating from Interstate 95 to the Buckman Bridge in Jacksonville, as part of the agency’s long-term congestion relief program.
The US$89m project began in 2014, and is the first of two sets of Express Lanes that will open on I-295, with the second US$139.9m project that began in 2016, running from State Road 9B to J Turner Butler Boulevard, due to open this summer. A further Express Lanes project on a section of I-295 from J Turner Butler to south of Dames Point Bridge, is currently in the planning/design phase. The variably-priced lanes are only in operation during peak travel times along this section of the I-295 corridor, which are from 6-10am. and 3-7pm. Monday through Friday.
FDOT says it will continue to evaluate peak travel times and could make changes to the tolled period in the future. During peak hours, there will be a set minimum toll price of US$0.50 that may be adjusted based on the level of congestion in the Express Lanes. To travel in the Express Lanes, customers must have an active, properly mounted SunPass or another interoperable toll transponder. Cash or Toll-by-Plate payment systems are not accepted in the Express Lanes and only two-axle vehicles are permitted to enter them.
“The Department wants to make sure our drivers have safe, affordable and viable options when they travel anywhere in Florida. To meet that goal, we constantly evaluate congestion relief strategies,” explained FDOT secretary, Kevin Thibault. “With that in mind, we have decided to use ‘time of day’ tolling for the new I-295 Express Lanes in Jacksonville. This means tolls will be charged only during peak travel times. Non-peak travel times, Express Lane use will be free.”
FDOT’s District Two secretary, Greg Evans, commented, “As part of the ongoing effort to support Governor Ron DeSantis’ goal to relieve congestion in our urban areas, Express Lanes have multiple benefits, including improved travel times, making trips more predictable. We know Florida drivers want options and Express Lanes provide drivers with a choice to use them or remain in the general use lanes. Drivers who use this segment will see decreased congestion and improved safety using the latest in congestion management technology.”