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Fast express lanes opening soon on I-295 near Buckman Bridge

I-295 drivers heading to and from the Buckman Bridge are going to have the option of taking the fast lane by the end of summer.

I-295 drivers heading to and from the Buckman Bridge are going to have the option of taking the fast lane soon. A road project that's been underway since 2014 is finally coming to a close this summer.

The $89 million project to install express lanes is happening between I-95 and the bridge along 295. There will be two northbound and two southbound express lanes, three free-of-charge general use lanes on each route.

"When you get in the express lanes, you must go all the way through," Hampton Ray, the spokesperson for Florida Department of Transportation said. "There are no exits."

Drivers must have Sunpass to use the express lanes.

"If you get into the express lane and you do not have a Sunpass, you will see a $25 fine for a toll violation," Ray said.

The minimum price to use the express lanes is $0.50, but could rise up to $2.50 during rush hour. Ray said, "It varies based on congestion within the roadway."

The cost will be displayed a mile away from the entrance to the express lanes.

Some drivers said they will use the lanes when the price is right.

"If it is less than a dollar, yes. If it is more than a dollar and it doesn't save me more than 10 minutes, then no," Ravi Putluru said.

Others, like Ben Aiken, think it's not worth it. "A lot of times we'll just go the non-295 route, and save a few bucks."

Drivers will be able to start using these lanes by the end of the summer.

FDOT is working on a similar project along the Town Center corridor, from 9B to JT Butler Blvd. That project will not be complete until 2019.

The first phase of the First Coast Expressway is also going to be done before the end of 2018. All the lanes on this road will be toll lanes, and it will stretch from I-10 to SR21 outside the beltway.