Jacksonville, FL (June 11, 2020) – After years in the planning, Council member Becton’s transportation initiative of 2015-16 has begun: the bridge widening on Deerwood Park Blvd in Council District 11. The project is being constructed by CGC, Inc. at a cost of $2.7 million with a completion date of Spring 2021.
The Deerwood Park Blvd corridor is a DRI (Development of Regional Impact) area that includes many major employers including Johnson & Johnson, Deutsche Bank, Citi, Brooks YMCA, and many other companies that are looking to grow and prosper. Almost to the day in which CM Becton took office, concerns began to surface that this area might be restricted in that the infrastructure required for these companies to expand could be hampered by the area’s Growth Management Plan for Transportation or lack thereof.
Johnson and Johnson (previously Vistakon) in 2015, had just competed within its own company for a major expansion. Looking at a potential $19 million, Phase 7 expansion bring in 100+ new jobs, it was Jacksonville vs. Ireland in who would get that call. Jacksonville won but only by a narrow margin which begged the question within, can the Jacksonville facility compete in the future for such an expansion again and win?
It was this concern along with other companies in the area that turned to CM Becton to look at current conditions and to understand what the growth management plan entailed throughout the region. To that regard, CM Becton initiated a study and put together the November 16, 2015 Report presented to these organizations (See Attachment) that outlined the opportunities, identified current conditions and projects and looked at alternative transportation solutions in understanding the complete picture of the area and the overall plans.
“In meeting with the senior management of Johnson and Johnson, after their battle with Ireland over the recent expansion, it was of great concern by J&J that future expansion could be limited if Jacksonville did not plan for the future, in and around this corridor”, Council Member Becton stated. “Therefore, to help in planning for those future needs, I researched and worked with several of our city departments, state and local agencies to put together a study that identified transportation projects in the works and areas of opportunities that needed our attention for future consideration.”
The report identified several areas in which CM Becton set focus for future improvement of the area transportation needs. These include the following along with their planned solution:
- A Signage issue at Centurion Parkway and Deerwood Park Blvd that caused conflicts with southbound traffic allowed to “turn right on red”.
- 2015 Resolved by immediately installing signs that restricted all right turn on red at that intersection.
- The intersection of Deerwood Park Blvd and Gate Parkway in addressing access issues to J.T. Butler Blvd.
- CM Becton worked with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to initiate a 2016 FDOT $6 million JTB/Gate Parkway Interchange Improvement project.
- CM Becton worked with developer Cantrell & Morgan in the approval of a PUD for Gate Parkway Village. In 2016, the commitment of $2 million for intersection improvements was planned at Deerwood Park Blvd and Gate Parkway.
- Traffic conflicts at Centurion Parkway N and Deerwood Park Blvd.
- CM Becton identified $500,000 to allocate to a 2018 COJ Capital Improvement Project to install a traffic signal at this intersection. This is to installed upon competition of the bridge widening.
- The bridge on Deerwood Park Blvd only having two lanes while the roadway of Deerwood Park Blvd was four lanes.
- CM Becton working with Public Works in the 2018 COJ Capital Improvement Project, allocated $694,848 to begin the design and creation of the bid documents for bridge expansion.
- CM Becton in working with Public Works in the 2019 COJ Capital Improvement Project allocating the remaining $2 million for construction.
- The intersection of Deerwood Park Blvd and Southside Blvd in addressing the movement of traffic in and out of this area, especially in the PM time period where employees were leaving.
- CM Becton working with FDOT and the TPO (North Florida Transportation Planning Organization) in allocation for a project to implement a new intersection redesign with construction identified in 2024.
“A lot has been accomplished with regards to transportation improvements in District 11 over the past five years. I am thrilled with the support that I have received from the COJ’s administration including the Planning and Development Department and Public Works,” CM Becton said. “FDOT has been equally supportive as a partner in that the majority of roads within the District are State Roadways requiring state assistance to plan and fund. The FL TPO which I had the privilege to being a part of in 2019-2020 has helped facilitate the projects needed and to identified them as a high priority.”
Other projects within the District that CM Becton has worked on with these local and state partners are identified for future funding and implementation, which include:
- Interchange redesign at I-95 / Baymeadows and roadway improvements on Baymeadows from Baymeadows Road East to I-95.
- Project already designed and funded. Currently working on easement authorization for new signaling at Baymeadows Circle West at Baymeadows Road with projected implementation in 2022-2023.
- Interchange redesign and expansion at Kernan Blvd and J.T. Butler Blvd.
- Priority #4 of the TPO 2020 Projects. Included in the Southeast Quadrant PUD Development.
- Intersection redesign for Southside Blvd at Old Baymeadows and Baymeadows Road.
- Priority #6 of the TPO 2020 Projects.
- Southside Blvd Resurfacing and more.
- Project already designed and funded with implementation scheduled in 2023. Project will include Southside Blvd, Street Lighting installation and intersection redesign and improvement at Southside Blvd – US1 (Philips Hwy)
“With the growth that is taking place in District 11, the area is getting the high priority from all agencies that is needed to keep up with that growth”, Council Member Becton acknowledge. “As new developments are planned, so is the infrastructure that is needed to support those future communities”, CM Becton continued. “Development happens faster than these projects can be designed and built, that is why I have placed such a high priority on envisioning the future needs and getting these projects planned today.”
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