Heckscher Drive bridge construction causing delays

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  • Construction has already begun on the Myrtle Creek bridge and is expected to last for months with a similar project also planned for Simpson Creek bridge, pictured, both on Heckscher Drive. BETH JONES/NEWS-LEADER
    Construction has already begun on the Myrtle Creek bridge and is expected to last for months with a similar project also planned for Simpson Creek bridge, pictured, both on Heckscher Drive. BETH JONES/NEWS-LEADER
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While people driving over the Myrtle Creek bridge can expect delays for the next seven or eight months, cyclists will be better able to navigate that portion of the Timucuan Trail after the Florida Department of Transportation installs a bike lane on the bridge, as well as one on the Simpson Creek bridge.

Another piece of good news for Nassau County residents is that the construction on State Road 200 is set to be completed by the end of 2020.

Debbie Delgato, public information officer with FDOT, said the construction on the Myrtle Creek bridge began last week and reduces traffic to one lane, with a signal keeping traffic flowing on Heckscher Drive.

Construction of the Timucuan Trail, a 10-foot-wide shared-use bike and walking path connecting Little Talbot Island State Park to Big Talbot Island State Park, began in late August. As part of the project, the Myrtle Creek and Simpson Creek bridges along Heckscher Drive will be reconstructed to provide two 12-foot travel lanes, two 10-foot shoulders and the 10-foot wide shared use path.

Superior Construction is the contractor for the $10.8 million project, which is scheduled to be completed in spring 2023, weather and unforeseen circumstances permitting. The work on the Simpson Creek bridge will begin when the Myrtle Creek bridge project is finished.

Another FDOT spokesperson, Hampton Ray, said the end of the seemingly endless construction on S.R. 200 from the Shave Bridge to the Interstate 95 exit is in sight.

The project is being constructed in two sections, Ray said, one from the Shave Bridge off the island to U.S. 17 and another section from U.S. 17 to the I-95. The section from the island to U.S. 17 is slated to be finished by early December, while the section further south will be finished by the end of the year, unforeseen circumstances permitting, Ray said.

FDOT says the exit will feature a “diverging diamond” interchange that will allow for at least 25% more efficient traffic flow and will be safer as it eliminates one left turn. The interchange will also be lighted, and installing the lighting will be the final part of the project.

“There is light at the end of the tunnel,” Ray told the News-Leader.

jroberts@fbnewsleader.com