State Road 313 has been on people’s minds for a long time — and still, after years, it’s just part of their imaginations.
The finish line for the proposed project is likely to stay there for a long time, though construction on a piece of it is expected to begin in 2022.
“I think you’re looking at something that would take decades to complete,” said Jim Knight, planner with the Florida Department of Transportation.
S.R. 313 is planned to be finished in two segments, one stretching from State Road 207 to State Road 16, and the other from State Road 16 to U.S. 1. FDOT estimates the cost of both segments combined as between $250 million and $300 million.
Construction on the segment from S.R. 16 to U.S. 1 isn’t expected to begin until 2040, according to Debbie Delgado, FDOT spokeswoman.
So far, just a one-mile, two-lane piece of the road from S.R. 207 to Holmes Boulevard is expected to get funding in the next five years, Knight said. Construction on that piece is expected to begin in 2022 for $10.2 million, but the cost estimate could change, he said.
“[S.R. 313 has] been a high priority of the NFTPO, and the department’s working to get it,” Knight said.
He also said the department’s been working on it for more than 20 years, and a project with the cost of S.R. 313 “takes quite a long time to unfold, typically.”
St. Augustine commissioners are expected to vote Monday on whether to keep S.R. 313 and other transportation projects as priorities. The approved list of projects will go to the North Florida Transportation Planning Organization and then to the FDOT as part of an annual update of transportation planning and funding.
The NFTPO plans transportation projects for the region, and the FDOT carries out projects and takes guidance from the NFTPO.
Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline, who serves on the NFTPO board, said S.R. 313 has also been on the city’s priority list for years as a way to relieve congestion on U.S. 1.
Steve Brennan, of Mission Trace, indicated he’s relaxed a bit as he’s realized it could be many years before he is affected by the new roadway. He and others in the neighborhood had previously been active in fighting the project, as the path of the road would change the landscape residents of the development enjoy.
But he says after learning the cost, and with growth in the county’s northwest likely to take priority for transportation projects, he’s become less concerned about S.R. 313 becoming a reality any time soon.
“I don’t hear a whole lot of talk about it in the neighborhood,” he said.
That, of course, could always change if funding for S.R. 313 ramps up, and he’s still opposed to the project.
He said he doesn’t believe it will relieve U.S. 1 congestion — many people who travel the road are heading to St. Augustine, and a western bypass to U.S. 1 won’t matter to them.
“It just doesn’t make sense,” Brennan said.