JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A radical change could be coming to several parts of Jacksonville over the next decade, starting with visible developments as early as this summer.
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) wants to add tolled express lanes on I-95 between the JTB interchange and Atlantic Boulevard.
Right now, two tolled express lane projects are already underway along the west Beltway between JTB and the Buckman Bridge and along the west Beltway between State Road 9B and JTB. The west Beltway is expected to be ready sometime this summer, but it will take another year for the east Beltway.
FDOT says this latest endeavor along I-95 would cost about $316 million. Construction could start sometime in 2022.
While the expansion would be aimed at alleviating traffic and offering more lanes during emergency situations, like hurricane evacuations, about 46 homes and seven businesses may have to be uprooted from their property.
Families, like James Campbell’s, are nestled next to sound barriers that separate them from the interstate already.
"If you talk to someone here, you have to be right next to someone to hear them,"Campbell said. "I’m used to it being there."
They may be saying goodbye to the sounds of interstate traffic, but that’s because this proposed expressway may be expanding on to their property
"It’s not as easy for them to just go find another house," he said.
Campbell says there's mixed reaction, but several homeowners are upset. That's why dozens of people packed the Marriott on Salisbury Road Wednesday evening to weigh in during Public Comment at FDOT's public hearing on the project. FDOT is accepting public comment via email through the 16th.
FDOT spokesman Hampton Ray says the express lanes will help locals and tourists move through the First Coast more efficiently.
"Jacksonville is unique, you are the doormat to the country when people are driving through the state," Hampton said. "We want to make sure it’s good for us but also for others who are maybe going to see Mickey and other parts of the state."
Hampton says their goal is to be congestion free, especially since I-95 is one of the mostly heavily traveled corridors in the U.S.
To use the express lanes you will need a SunPass with a pre-loaded balance that will charge you each time you use the express lanes, but the amount can change daily.
"The more people in the lanes the more expensive it will be to use the lanes, the less people, the less expensive it will be," Hampton said.
He says that’s to keep it from being congested.
"The express lane toll could vary in 15 minute increments," he said.
Another area that’s being considered for tolls is on I-95 from international Golf Parkway to the I-95/ 295 interchange.