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Jacksonville, FL (September 26, 2022) – After over a year of negotiations between the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and Eastland Partners, the original developers of the Wells Creek community and functions as the leadership of the Wells Creek Master Association Board, Council Member Danny Becton is excited to announce that a deal has been reached on the installation of a traffic signal at the intersection of Wells Creek Parkway and Philips Highway.  With the project now fully funded by the Wells Creek Master Association, projected commencement of the project is slated to begin in May/June of 2023 based on availability of materials.

In August 2021, Council Member Becton received numerous emails about the dangerous road conditions turning into and out of the community of Wells Creek onto Philips Highway, South of the 9B/Philips Highway interchange. Concerned citizens began to advocate for something to be done and done quickly as traffic accidents began to become routine. As residents were looking for a quick solution, unfortunately, Philips Highway is a State Road and all improvements and changes associated with any approvals must go through FDOT. Community residents of Wells Creek leave their community by crossing over two lanes of traffic to go South, and, when heading North, they must navigate into travel lanes where speeds in both directions can be more than 60-MPH with traffic coming to and from St. Johns County.  This poses a very hazardous situation to those residents.

This section of Philips Highway from St. Johns County to I-95 has really seen a lot of growth over the past several years with new neighborhoods and businesses that have made this a congested roadway,” Council Member Becton acknowledged. “While road improvements have not kept up with that growth, FDOT has also been unwilling to reduce the roadway speeds to accommodate a more boulevard drive, typically 45-MPH”, Council Member Becton added. “It is with great appreciation that I say thank you to Eastland Partners for their continued commitment and efforts to get this project approved by FDOT and funded. Without their determination to navigate the required studies, reports, and process to get to this point this announcement would not be possible!” Council Member Becton concluded.

A recent email from Wells Creek resident Kelly explains her concerns:

My name is Kelly, and I am a new resident of the Wells Creek Community located by 9B and Phillips Highway. I am writing to you today to discuss an urgent matter that is not only affecting the residents of this community but also imposes a hazard to those driving on US1. The Wells Creek entrance is in desperate need of a traffic light, every morning residents are battling high speeds down US1 and with only one exit out of the community this causes severe backups through the neighborhood and is also leaving drivers rushed to get to work which increases the chances of drivers taking more risks to merge onto the highway. I am currently residing 17 minutes from my office, and it is currently taking me 45+ minutes to get to work not due to any city traffic but because it can take anywhere from 15‐35 minutes just to exit the neighborhood onto US1 during the work week. As a first‐time home buyer, I was proud to move into a new development, but this has imposed a serious thought of whether I made a good investment. Not only is this a safety issue but this has the potential to decrease the values of our homes, I hear residents speak of leaving the community because of this issue as well as hearing and witnessing countless wrecks at this intersection. Please highly consider our plea to put up a traffic light.”

In June 2022, progress was made between FDOT and the Wells Creek Master Association. It was an FDOT commitment to start the design and permitting of the signalization, if fully funded. As a result, it was the combination of funding from Wells Creek LLC (Eastland Partners), Mattamy Homes, and KB Homes that contributed a total of $457,761.90 that would be escrowed and controlled by the Wells Creek Master Association to allow for FDOT to proceed. The total cost of the project is estimated at $480,000 and any overruns will be funded by Wells Creek LLC.

In a recent update, Art Lancaster, Vice President with Eastland Partners updated Council Member Becton to report that the project was now underway whereby the civil engineering firm of ETM, Inc of Jacksonville, was designing the plans, performing the site work, and doing the necessary surveys which included the site digs and Geotechnical exploration that would begin the process of ultimately placing a traffic light at the entrance to Wells Creek.  Furthermore, he added that the plans should be submitted by early December, with final plans and permits to be completed by the end of February.  After this is done, the project would then be open for public bids for work to begin (a process that typically takes 45 days), and once a contractor is selected the winning bidder will order materials and begin construction as soon as possible.

By Joe Johnson, District 11 Executive Council Assistant and CM Danny Becton.