Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Argyle Route Costlier Road to Take an Extra $4 Million

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Argyle Route Costlier Road to Take an Extra $4 Million

Article excerpt

Byline: David Bauerlein, Times-Union staff writer

The cost of widening Argyle Forest Boulevard has risen by $4 million, but the Jacksonville Transportation Authority remains on track to start construction next year.

At a meeting this week, the JTA updated residents on the project design, which will widen Argyle Forest Boulevard from Blanding Boulevard to just west of Bridge Creek Drive.

The $18.9 million project is one of the Better Jacksonville Plan's most-awaited pieces of Westside roadwork because drivers for years have dealt with excess traffic on the two-lane road.

The cost has increased because of additional work needed for construction of a wider bridge where the boulevard crosses McGirts Creek. The existing bridge will be replaced by twin spans, one for eastbound traffic and the other for westbound drivers. The roadbed also will be raised at the approaches to the bridge.

JTA officials told residents the project will not include construction of sound barriers between the road and houses along it. Widening the boulevard to four lanes will increase the noise level, but the impact will not be widespread enough to justify the cost of building the walls, according to a consultant who did a study.

Some residents said they didn't expect the widening of Argyle Forest Boulevard to bring the pavement closer to their homes.

"Now, all of a sudden, we've got a road in our back yard," one man said. "We didn't plan for that."

In its busiest stretch, the road handles 18,000 vehicles daily, making it one of the city's most heavily traveled two-lane roads. That traffic is expected to rise in coming years because of development on the Westside and in northern Clay County along Branan Field-Chaffee Road, which opened in September.

"It will make a real difference," Westside resident Doug Hemphill said of making Argyle Forest Boulevard a four-lane road. "At two lanes, it's a mess. I think it's going to alleviate a lot of traffic problems and congestion and make it a lot safer."

He said he's trying to remain patient as engineers do the design and permitting that's needed to get the project ready for construction. …

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