FDOT: $15 million project will add I-95 bridge, widen St. Lucie West Blvd. may be done by 2024
By Olivia McKelvey, Treasure Coast Newspapers, Sept 5, 2022
PORT ST. LUCIE — To keep up with rapid growth here, the Florida Department of Transportation is adding a $15 million bridge at St. Lucie West Boulevard over Interstate 95 as well as widening the major roadway artery.
The new three-lane bridge will carry eastbound traffic. The existing bridge will carry the two westbound lanes.
Additionally, FDOT will reconfigure the entrance and exit ramps at I-95, widen St. Lucie West Boulevard and add sidewalks, bike lanes, a median and new traffic lights.
Construction is expected to be finished by early 2024.
The project has been a priority of the St. Lucie Transportation Planning Organization for at least four years, according to Samantha Kayser, community outreach specialist for one of the project’s contractors.
“This is definitely going to allow us to move traffic more efficiently in both directions,” said City Council member Dave Pickett, who has the project in his district. “If you travel to St. Lucie West Boulevard at any given time during the day, it is quite congested, especially during rush hour.”
It will especially be beneficial for residents of numerous gated communities along that corridor such as Kings Isle, Cascades at St. Lucie West and Lake Charles, he added.
With more than 60% of St. Lucie County’s workforce commuting out of the county daily, this work is crucial to manage traffic congestion, Pickett said.
FDOT also emphasizes how increasing development westward of the interchange drives the need for this project, according to Kayser.
A wider St. Lucie West Boulevard between Commerce Center Drive and Peacock Boulevard will be able to accommodate:
- Two eastbound and westbound travel lanes with a third eastbound lane between the I-95 southbound and northbound ramps
- Two eastbound left turn lanes at the I-95 northbound on-ramp
- Two westbound right turn lanes at the I-95 northbound on-ramp
New traffic lights will be installed at the I-95 ramps with enhanced synchronization to improve traffic flow.
Construction already is underway, in phase two of five. The state will pay about 80% of the project, or $12.3 million, with the city paying the remaining $3.1 million.
As drivers encounter detours, Pickett suggests using Crosstown Parkway and Gatlin Boulevard as alternative routes to avoid major delays.
The project team is planning an in-person “coffee with the contractor” event later this year to address any concerns, Kayser said.