Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Kravitz Likes Connector Plan, Hopes to Refine It

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Kravitz Likes Connector Plan, Hopes to Refine It

Article excerpt

A Jacksonville City Councilman likes a St. Johns County

commissioner's idea to connect Interstate 95 in southern Duval

and Race Track Road in Fruit Cove so much he may have an idea to

make it work even better.

Councilman Dick Kravitz saw Commissioner Pal Howell's proposal

to extend Florida 9B into northwest St. Johns County for the

first time Friday. He says there could be a way to tweak the

design to relieve the daily gridlock on Southside and Butler

boulevards as well as between Mandarin and Fruit Cove.

Kravitz said he doesn't know exactly how to do that, so he will

ask the Florida Department of Transportation for a traffic study

on the area, then see if traffic experts can help both lawmakers

figure out a new road plan.

"There may be an added benefit, and we need to get the DOT's

help to relieve some pressure on Butler and Southside," Kravitz

said. "Maybe we could add something where Florida 9B comes out

and make other improvements."

Howell initially suggested the state extend its proposed

Florida 9B connector past its current planned stopping point at

I-95 to a four-way interchange with Race Track Road. His idea is

seen as a relief valve to siphon traffic off Florida 13 in his

area and Mandarin, and has gained support from the Metropolitan

Planning Organization, which prioritizes road projects for

Duval, St. Johns and Clay counties. The St. Johns County

Commission also approved the proposal in a resolution Nov. 18,

and sent it to the MPO.

Even if Kravitz's idea to increase the utility of the proposal

is realized, local transportation officials say funding is still

a question. But Howell said Kravitz's idea could be what it

takes to get the proposed roadway done faster.

"What I want Kravitz to do is write a letter of support to the

MPO, and I think he will because he seemed to support it a lot,"

Howell said. "He sees what I want to do will also help him as

much as it would help us. …

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