Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez recently joined state and local officials to kick off the first phase of construction on the State Road (SR) 9B project near Jacksonville, Fla. The project, which has been stalled since the mid-1970s, is being funded almost completely by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
“This project has been on hold for more than 30 years, and because of the Recovery Act, the wait is over,” says U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Through the Recovery Act, we’re rebuilding our transportation infrastructure and forging a stronger economic future in Florida and all across the United States.”
Of the total $76.8 million project cost, $76 million are Recovery Act dollars, which represents the largest Recovery Act investment in Jacksonville. The state was able to make its Recovery dollars go further after the winning bid came in 10 percent lower than the original $84 million engineering estimate.
When completed in 2012, the new five-mile four-lane divided highway will relieve congestion by providing an additional transportation choice for commuters and tourists. SR 9A will continue to be used by commuters from the business district on the west side of Jacksonville, and SR 9B will help commuters and tourists get to U.S. 1 and to the airport north of the city.
“Recovery Act dollars are helping projects like this get back on track and putting people to work,” Mendez says. “On top of that, this will reduce congestion so people in Jacksonville will have more time to spend doing other things.”
Of the $26.6 billion in Recovery Act highway funds available for road and bridge projects nationwide, Florida’s share is $1.35 billion. As of June 18, $1.31 billion has been obligated for 610 projects, with 333 under way and 167 completed.