First Coast Expressway Stakeholders Summit Encourages City to Stay Poised for Growth

The annual First Coast Expressway Stakeholders Summit held Thursday, June 20, at the Thrasher-Horne Center in Orange Park shared the current progress of the expressway as well as the anticipated future impacts to the project’s county, municipal and business stakeholders. The City of Green Cove Springs is a municipal stakeholder of the project.

The first phase of the expressway, from Blanding Boulevard/State Road 21 in Clay County north to I-10/U.S. 90 in Duval County, started in 2013 and is expected to be completed this spring, with tolling on that segment also to begin in Spring 2019. The second segment of the project, divided into a north project from north of SR 21 to north of SR16 and a south project from north of SR 16 to east of CR 209, began this year. The north project was started in February 2019 by Sacyr Construction, and the south project is scheduled to begin in Spring 2019 by Superior Construction. The third and final segment will be a new four-lane bridge over the St. Johns River just south of the current Shands Bridge and will connect the new expressway to I-95 in St. Johns County, and is expected to begin in 2023 or late 2022.

Clay County Economic Development Director Chereese Stewart talked about the business and residential development that will grow around the First Cost Expressway. Two proposed large mixed-use developments are already planned to be built around expressway interchanges. One on the interchange connecting SR 16 north to U.S. 17 south just outside of Green Cove Springs will develop the former Gustafson’s property to Governors Park, which proposes 6,000 residential units, 700,000 square feet of office space, 840,000 square feet of commercial space, 2 million square feet of warehouse space, and a 400-room hotel.

As a stakeholder the City is preparing for the continued progress of the expressway and development surrounding it through its major electric system and water and wastewater system upgrades, and its recent restructure of its Development Services department to help hone the City’s focus of planning and zoning within City Limits as the surrounding area grows with the expressway.

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