Trucking is a vital part of the economy. Truckers like to tell us that most goods we use every day arrive by truck.
For that reason, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will start work later this month on a major chokepoint – the Interstate 10 and U.S. 301 interchange near Baldwin.
The reconstruction project is designed to accommodate increased truck traffic making the northbound U.S. 301 to eastbound I-10 movement. Northbound trucks using U.S. 301 are primarily heading to Jacksonville or points north.
Florida is a major player in the global economy, ranking seventh in the U.S. for exports. In 2013, Florida exported more than $85 billion in goods, with most of those loads moving on Florida highways on the way to seaports and rail centers.
The $65 million project was awarded to Superior Construction of Jacksonville and comes on the heels of the $67 million widening of U.S. 301 north of Baldwin completed last summer.
A Baldwin Bypass project is scheduled for construction next year.
“This route is a critical part of the regional transportation network,” said Pete Sheridan of VIA Consulting Services, which will oversee the construction.
The existing I-10-U.S. 301 interchange features two major truck stops that attract a sizable concentration of truck traffic.
The interchange project includes new ramps and bridges to correct the following deficiencies:
- Substandard loop ramps
- Insufficient deceleration ramp length
- Insufficient queue storage on U.S. 301
- A short weaving distance between loop ramps and southbound U.S. 301
- Substandard vertical clearance under the bridges
Because of these deficiencies, truck traffic often backs up waiting to make the northbound U.S. 301 to eastbound I-10 movement.
“FDOT understands the relationship between sound infrastructure and local economies,” said Sheridan. “This project is designed to assist the movement of goods through this part of Florida.”