In January 2020, the Florida Department of Transportation received approval from the Federal Highway Administration for the Systems Interchange Modification Report Reevaluation, supporting the implementation of a new concept, hereafter referred to as the Preferred Build Alternative.
The improvements are along I-295 extending from State Road 9B to the State Road 202 Interchange in Duval County, Florida. This SIMR Reevaluation compares traffic operations for the 2020 SIMR Reevaluation, and the 2014 SIMR. The recommendations from the previous SIMR will be referred to as the Original Build Alternative.
The purpose of this project is to add an additional general purpose lane for each direction of I-295, improve speed and travel time in the general purpose lanes, and improve overall operations along the corridor from State Road 9B to the Town Center Parkway interchange.
The Preferred Build Alternative builds upon the Original Build Alternative's concept with the following distinct modifications:
Widen northbound I-295 by adding an additional general purpose lane that extends from the off-ramp to State Road 152 to north of the State Road 202 off-ramp. Improvements to the design include a choice lane for the State Road 152 single-lane off-ramp instead of the lane drop currently under construction with the Original Build Alternative. Three general purpose lanes continuing through downstream of the State Road 152 off-ramp. Approximately 150 feet of taper is proposed for the State Road 152 off-ramp instead of an auxiliary lane. This additional general purpose lane ties into the Original Build Alternative near the State Road 202 eastbound off-ramp.
Widen the northbound I-295 off-ramp to Gate Parkway to two lanes. Upstream of the ramp, I-295 is proposed as three general purpose lanes with one auxiliary lane and two express lanes. The auxiliary lane is proposed to drop off to Gate Parkway with an option lane that will continue along I-295 northbound. The general purpose lanes are proposed to balance as four lanes splits into two lanes on the off-ramp and three lanes continue through.
I-295 northbound express lanes modified to remove internal merge proposed near the State Road 202 interchange with the Original Build Alternative. Rather than opening a third express lane to split to the State Road 202 ramps and two lanes continue through, the Preferred Build Alternative proposes a single dedicated express lane to the State Road 202 ramps and the other express lane for I-295 northbound to streamline the flow and reduce friction.
Widen southbound I-295 by adding an additional General Purpose lane from south of the State Road 152 offramp to the State Road 9B off-ramp. This proposed modification eliminates the lane merge between the State Road 152 interchange ramps, instead extends the additional lane to tie into the deceleration lane near the State Road 9B off ramp proposed with the Original Build Alternative.
The Reevaluation provides the traffic operational analysis for the opening year and design year to demonstrate that the Preferred Build Alternative is equal to or better than the Original Build Alternative.
An analysis of the Preferred Build Alternative was performed in accordance with the related MLOU and the FDOT's Interchange Access Request Users' Guide.
The 2020 SIMR Reevaluation Preferred Build Alternative satisfies the FHWA's Policy on Access to the Interstate System and provides the same or better traffic operations when compared to the Original Build Alternative.
When Design Year operations were reviewed, the Preferred Build Alternative outperformed the Original Build Alternative along several link specific measures of effectiveness that included speeds and densities.
In the Design Year, the proposed improvements increase the average speed across the study area from 35.2 mph with the Original Build Alternative to 36.0 mph during the PM peak period.
The proposed improvements with the Preferred Build Alternative also reduced travel time along general purpose lanes of I-295 from south of State Road 9B until Town Center Parkway. In the northbound I-295 direction, during the AM peak period, approximately 140 seconds per vehicle in travel time savings was observed with the Preferred Build Alternative along northbound I-295 from south of the State Road 9B interchange to south of the Town Center Parkway interchange on the general purpose lanes during the AM peak period.
The objective of this safety analysis was to estimate and compare the future crash potentials of the Original Build and Preferred Build Alternatives. The Preferred Build Alternative is predicted to reduce future crashes by 34.7 crashes in the year 2045 compared to the Original Build Alternative.
Based on the findings, the 2020 SIMR Reevaluation Preferred Build Alternative is offered to replace the previously approved 2014 SIMR Original Build Alternative. This SIMR Re-Evaluation was approved by FDOT Central Office and Federal Highway in January 2020.