For Full Story: Clay Today Online

Article By: Nick Blank

 

Hundreds streamed through a small office to look at renderings of the First Coast Expressway’s next segment that will wind its way through Clay County. The top half of segment two begins at Blanding Boulevard and goes to north of State Road 16. Construction will begin this month and finish in 2026, according to the Florida Department of Transportation. The southern half of the project in Clay County will run $180 million and the entire project costs $230 million. Construction begins in March and is expected to be completed in 2026.

The toll road, when complete, will connect Interstate 10 in Duval County to Interstate 95 in St. Johns County and involve building a new Shands Bridge in Green Cove Springs.

FDOT spokeswoman Sara Pleasants said the open house format helps residents visualize sections of the project and talk in person to engineers who are working on the project. A highlight of the project is the complex being dubbed the “Diverging Diamond Interchange,” which involves two directions of traffic near Henley Road, beneath the expressway, where drivers will briefly drive on the opposite side of the road. The interchange will be the first in the county, according to FDOT.

“The First Coast Expressway supports all the growth and development that’s taking place in western Duval, Clay and St. Johns counties,” Pleasants said. “It’s getting people to where they need to go.”

Clay County is one of the fastest-growing counties in the state. Residents at the open house said change to the area was inevitable.