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Major improvements to Southside and Beach Blvd. intersection set to open

The Florida Department of Transportation says the Media U-Turn Intersection will help lower the number of left turns and ease the flow of traffic.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — After a year and a half of construction, the Florida Department of Transportation is set to open a new U-turn lane to make the intersection at Southside and Beach Boulevard, safer and less hectic.

"Instead of turning left just at the intersection right here at this overpass, you will then go just about 100, 200 feet past the intersection you'll make a U-turn in the center of the median and you'll turn right onto Southside Boulevard," FDOT Public Information Officer Hampton Ray said.

It's called a Median U-Turn and is the second of its kind in Jacksonville. The other one is on Collins Road near I-295. 

The Median U-Turn was scheduled to open at 11p.m. Thursday, but constructions crews were still working on the lanes. 

Nonetheless, people view the improvements as welcome relief. 

"I first came across here and went through the whole neighborhood behind me to go around and kind of do a U-turn and everything else just to get here," said Tracie Rea, who works in the area.

The project at Beach and Southside took a year and a half to finish and cost $7.8 million in federal and state money.

FDOT projects traffic accidents will decrease by 10 percent thanks to the improvement and will ease the headache for drivers.

"You can see actually it looks like it's going to be a lot easier for our customers and us to get in and out of here than it was before," Rea said.

FDOT says a Median U-Turn is being built in St. Augustine near the outlets.

First Coast News reached out to the Florida Highway Patrol for traffic accident statistics at the Beach and Southside intersection but has not heard back.


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