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Long-Term Detour Starts As Downtown Hart Bridge Ramps Close For Demolition

Road closed signs started going up in March in preparation for the demolition of Downtown Jacksonville's elevated expressway to the Hart Bridge.

The elevated expressway next to TIAA Bank Field in Downtown Jacksonville will be closed Saturday, April 4, as the next phase of the Hart Bridge ramps' demolition gets underway.

The elevated expressway from A. Phillip Randolph Boulevard eastward to the Hart Bridge will be removed as part of what WJCT News partner The Florida Times-Union reports is a $39 million demolition and reconstruction project.

At ground level, Gator Bowl Boulevard from Hogan’s Creek eastward to Talleyrand Avenue will be reconstructed. New connections will also be built to the remaining elevated Hart Expressway ramp, with new bridge spans over A. Phillip Randolph Boulevard and a new bridge connection to the Hart Bridge.

Fifty-six spans of the elevated expressway next to the St. Johns River, running along Metropolitan Park, will be demolished.

Credit Bill Bortzfield / WJCT News
Crews started ripping out trees at ground level on the Hart Bridge elevated ramp system last month in preparation for the demoliltion.

The first project phase will connect Gator Bowl Boulevard to the Hart Bridge.

Traffic control officers will be located a high-traffic area intersections during lane closures to direct traffic along the detour routes, illustrated here:

Credit City of Jacksonville
This map shows the construction zone and detour area.

The detour to Gator Bowl Boulevard will force many motorists to pass by TIAA Bank Field where COVID-19 testing is being done in Lot J. But city officials are emphasizing there is no risk to drivers or passengers traveling past the site.

Credit Bill Bortzfield / WJCT News
The elevated expressway along Gator Bowl Boulevard will be closed April 4 for demolition.

Jaguars owner Shad Khan plans to redevelop the area, starting with Lot J, in what is reportedly a $2.5 billion project that will eventually also encompass part of the existing Metropolitan Park.

Last July, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry announced he was “verbally close to an agreement” for the redevelopment, but nothing binding has been signed.  In August, he released the terms of a proposed deal between the city and Khan’s holding company.

That proposal calls for the city to invest a total of $233.3 million in grants and infrastructure improvements for the project.

Khan has selected the Cordish Companies to develop the project. 

The $450 million to $500 million Phase I of Lot J comprises the Live! Arena entertainment venue, a 200-unit boutique hotel and 700 residential units. The development would include 400 mid-rise units and 300 high-rise units, according to WJCT News partner the Jacksonville Daily Record.

Lot J rendering
Credit The Cordish Companies / Via Jacksonville Jaguars
Via Jacksonville Jaguars
This rendering illustrates the proposed development of Lot J and nearby area.

In January, Jaguars President Mark Lamping told WJCT News partner The Florida Times-Union that negotiations on the Lot J development deal are “very close” to finalization. Since then, the world has been thrown into economic turmoil amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at, 904-358-6349 or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.

Bill joined WJCT News in September of 2017 from The Florida Times-Union, where he served in a variety of multimedia journalism positions.