Posted by: Rick Pariani in Community Involvement, Local Activities, News, Schools, WGV Events, WGV Residents

The Greater World Golf Village Area, from International Golf Parkway (IGP), across S.R. #16 to C.R. #208 and from U.S. #1 to the St. Johns River, is on the cusp of another infrastructure boost.

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is underway with design and engineering plans to build north and south Managed Lanes (aka, High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes) on Interstate 95 between IGP and I-295. The approximate 15 mile improvement will be toll-regulated, and like the recently completed segment of I-295 from I-95 to the St. Johns River, will be accessed through the Florida SunPass transponder system.

Since IGP will be the southern portal to the improvement, the I-95 / IGP Interchange (Exit 323) will also be improved by the FDOT, regards ingress, egress, stacking, signalization and vehicle flow. FDOT has nearly completed their ramp and signalization improvement designs. They have also taken care to save, in place, as many of the existing Southern Live Oaks as possible – coupled with a re-planting and treescape supplemental effort.

In 1997, the World Golf Village master developer spent over $400,000 planting Live Oaks on the privately designed, constructed and funded IGP Interchange. Today, the Live Oaks have matured into specimen-quality trees, many with trunk sizes exceeding twenty inches in caliper. The Live Oaks, as the signature, thematic tree of WGV, are showcased on all four Interchange ramps and across the IGP overpass. FDOT has recognized the importance and value of the native, xeric Interchange treescape and have attempted to minimize the impacts from their project.

The FDOT Interchange improvements are to be further extended as a result of the proposed Buc-ee’s Gas and Convenience Travel Center. Buc-ee’s purchased the southwest corner of the Interchange to accommodate their planned 104 gas pump / 53,000 square foot store (no big-rig trucks allowed, thankfully). To offset their calculated traffic impacts, the FDOT and St. Johns County are working with Buc-ee’s on preliminary Interchange ramp and IGP / World Commerce Parkway (WCP) intersection expansions. The assumed $4M price tag would be borne by Buc-ee’s.

If the expansions are built as planned, the southbound off and southbound on ramps will change significantly.

The existing free-right-turn southbound off ramp to IGP will be removed. The existing left-turn onto IGP segment of the off ramp will be widened to 4 lanes with new signalization – 2 lanes for a left turn and 2 lanes for the right turn onto IGP. These ramp modifications are intended to increase the stacking distance on IGP between the ramp and the IGP/WCP intersection and to provide for safer lane changes in that section. Additionally, the IGP/WCP intersection approach will be widened to 5 lanes – 2 left turn lanes, 2 through lanes and a single dedicated right turn lane into World Golf Village.

Likewise, the existing left turn ramp for west bound IGP traffic merging south onto I-95, will be removed. Additional lane widening on IGP, from that location, will be extended another 350 feet west to a new signalized intersection to marry both the east and westbound IGP traffic, collectively needing to merge south onto I-95.

There are more planned lane and curvature improvements on the both the northbound on and off ramps, on the east side of I-95.

Currently, construction schedules and start dates for the I-95 Interchange improvements and the Managed Lane Project are not available. Once the orange barrels and shiny silt-fencing begins to be installed – you’ll know that the project/s have started.

Also, it may be likely that the recently announced St. Johns County High School (on IGP adjacent to Mill Creek Academy) will trigger further lane and signalization improvements towards the western end of IGP.

Further out on the horizon, in five or seven or more years, the limited-access, toll-regulated First Coast Expressway will be completed through Clay County. Its new bridge over the St. Johns River, will enable it to extend east through the Silverleaf community and link with a new interchange on I-95 halfway between IGP and C.R. #210. Once completed, the facility will link I-95 in St. Johns County with I-10 in Duval County, completely by-passing the Jacksonville metropolitan core.


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