Construction along State Road 9B that started in 2015 ended this week, saving St. Johns County drivers some time on their commutes.
S.R. 9B connects C.R. 2209 in St. Johns County to Interstate 295 in Duval County. The last stretch from C.R. 2209 to I-95 will open in phases.
On Wednesday, the northbound lanes opened, as well as the Peyton Parkway exit (Race Track Road Connector) that leads to Racetrack Road (the green on the map to the left), according to our News4Jax news partner.The Florida Department of Transportation opened southbound I-95 to southbound S.R. 9B (the magenta on the map) on Thursday morning -- one day before St. Johns County students head back to class for the first day of school.
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News4Jax was told all other remaining stretches were also opened by Thursday morning.
Weather, along with new development, pushed the project back a little bit. The state Department of Transportation had to make some adjustments to the original plan to accommodate the growing area.
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News4Jax's Sky4 helicopter captured aerial footage of S.R. 9B Wednesday, moments before the northbound lanes between County Road 2209 (St. Johns Parkway) and Interstate 95 opened just after noon Wednesday.
The adjustments included exit ramps, turn lanes and traffic lights leading to retail and residential communities under construction.
S.R. 9B provides a quicker route from St. Johns to the major highway -- such as I-95, U.S. 1 and I-295 -- while alleviating some congestion on C.R. 210 and Race Track Road.
The state Department of Transportation estimates more than 40,000 vehicles will travel on S.R. 9B each day. Once approved by the Federal Highway Administration, the road will be renamed Interstate 795.
Courtney Detlefs, a mother who lives in St. Johns County, has mixed feelings about the new road.
"It will definitely save us some time," she said. "(But we're) not used to the traffic. We moved out here and there was nothing out here. And now, while the convenience will be nice, not really excited about having it in our backyard."
As part of the project, a new pedestrian overpass was constructed at the intersection of S.R. 9B and C.R. 2209.
Click here to learn more about the $79.7 million S.R. 9B project.