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More roadwork coming to busy JTB, San Pablo Road intersection

The diverging diamond interchange can reduce traffic crashes by up to 50%.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It's one of the busiest interchanges in the area, and if you travel on J. Turner Butler Boulevard and San Pablo Road, you've probably noticed the large construction project.

It's a $12 million diverging diamond interchange, and that's where two directions of traffic cross to the opposite side of the road. 

A sea of traffic cones line San Pablo Road as Florida Department of Transportation crews continue to work on the project they started in January 2020. What will make the interchange safer is having fewer left turns. Florida Highway Patrol reports 40 crashes at the JTB and San Pablo Road interchange in 2019 and 39 crashes in 2020. 

“The traffic’s a little bad," Jaden Sutton said. “At first, it was confusing, but as you get used to driving through here, it gets easier.”

Jaden Sutton works in the area of JTB and San Pablo Road and deals with the construction every day. 

“The diverging diamond interchange is pretty interesting and unique because you briefly travel on the opposite side of the road. You briefly travel on the left-hand side of the road, which eliminates conflict points," Hampton Ray said.

FDOT spokesman Hampton Ray said traditional diamond interchanges have 26 conflict points, while diverging diamond interchanges have 14. Conflict points are where crashes are more likely to happen. 

“We’re doing some work on the signals, which is really important when you’re talking about a diverging diamond," Ray said. "You’ll also see some resurfacing, so some asphalt work, pavement markings, and ultimately, there will be a traffic shift where we will actually implement that diverging diamond.”

Our region has another diverging diamond interchange at Interstate 95 and Route 200 in Nassau County. 

“Whenever you drive through an intersection, whenever you’re on the roadway and you’re making a left-hand turn, you are more prone to a crash," Ray said.

The diverging diamond interchange can reduce traffic crashes by up to 50%, according to FDOT.

“You eliminate some traffic signals as you’re waiting for the red light, and you’re moving through the interchange a lot faster," Ray said. 

"I think it's good," Sutton said. "Anytime you can improve safety have faster traffic, that's a plus."

The project is expected to be completed in the spring of 2022, and more diverging diamond interchanges will be coming to the First Coast in the future.

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