Newberry Road exit ramp will be expanded


Published: Saturday, January 1, 2011 at 10:36 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 1, 2011 at 10:36 p.m.

The Interstate 75 exit ramp at Newberry Road will get better, but first it is going to get worse.

Northbound traffic that is exiting to get to North Florida Regional Medical Center, the Oaks Mall and the University of Florida is often so heavy that cars are stopped alongside I-75 waiting to get off.

“I find this exit ramp to be extremely unsafe, and it often backs up onto the highway,” Matt Patterson wrote to the state Department of Transportation district office. “It appears the traffic signal does not stay green long enough to allow the ramp to empty during peak travel times in the morning and afternoon.”

DOT spokeswoman Gina Busscher said work on the northbound exit ramps will start in late March. The $2.2 million project will add an additional turn lane in both the west and east directions and lengthen the exit lane on I-75.

Most of the work will be done at night to minimize disruptions, Busscher said.

However, at times the entire exit might be closed and traffic forced to exit on either Archer Road or 39th Avenue.

“We are going to be doubling the capacity on that ramp. We can double the number of vehicles that can come off the interstate — there will be additional lanes for the traffic to wait when it comes off,” Busscher said. “It’s going to be quite a headache for maintenance of traffic. There will be times when they actually close the lanes. We are working things out with the hospital for ambulances, but there may be times when the road is actually cut open and nothing will be able to get through.”

Work is expected to start March 28, and the contractor has 460 days to complete it, Busscher said.

Similar backups sometimes occur on the 39th Avenue interchange, but DOT has no plans to upgrade that one in the near future.

If you have a question or observation about roadwork in North Central Florida, e-mail Cindy Swirko at swirkoc@gvillesun.com.

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