A welcome change for many drivers: a new exit ramp is now open at JTB and Kernan boulevards.
The new traffic pattern means drivers heading north on Kernan from JTB eastbound no longer have to stop at a traffic light and then turn left.
The hope is that this will prevent backups on JTB at the Kernan exit.
The Florida Department of Transportation opened the new ramp at 4:45 a.m. Thursday, but it might take some getting used to for drivers.
The new exit ramp has drivers loop around to the right and then merge onto Kernan heading north.
The News4JAX mobile newsroom captured video Thursday, showing the pattern to follow for the new exit ramp. The far right lane of JTB eastbound at Kernan becomes an exit-only lane for those wanting to head north on Kernan.
Once drivers loop down, they can safely merge onto Kernan without stopping at a light.
A map from FDOT also gives drivers an idea of how the new traffic pattern is going to work.
The green arrow is the new exit ramp loop. Drivers wanting to go north on Kernan from JTB will have to go east on JTB about a third of a mile past the old exit ramp to the new loop.
The blue arrow is the old ramp, which drivers can still use, but now it will only allow them to go south on Kernan toward Stillwood Pines Boulevard.
FDOT Public Information Officer Hampton Ray said the change will alleviate some of the congestion that happens on JTB both in the mornings and late in the afternoons.
“This project integrates safety by eliminating some of those slow or stopped cars that were exiting to Kernan Boulevard,” Ray said. “It allows vehicles to essentially stack on the ramp to exit onto Kernan Boulevard. It eliminates some of those slow-moving cars. It eliminates weaving. It also reduces congestion by adding total capacity to the intersection.”
Electronic signs in the area will alert drivers of the new exit ramp, which is part of a more than $17 million project from FDOT that also includes enhancing the ramps to allow more drivers on them and repaving the roads.