On February 28, there was an open house for residents to see plans for Interstate 95 at the LPGA Boulevard interchange in Daytona Beach. More than 250 members of the public showed up for the preview.
Some who attended recognized the need for updating current roadways. Others noted that the project could not come fast enough and urged that the implementation be sped up.
This is exactly the nature of participation we need from every community.
I-95 is an integral part of our social fabric. As one of the country’s busiest highways, this 1,900-mile corridor connects 110 million people from Maine to Miami. It traverses 15 states and serves as a major freight route, serving 40% of the United States' gross domestic product. Additionally, I‐95 is also a major hurricane evacuation route on the east coast, providing critical emergency access to millions.
Locally, it is the backbone of regional transportation in East Central Florida. Much of the portion we use daily in Volusia County, a total of 46 miles and 8 interchanges, was designed during the Eisenhower administration and built in the 1960s. In Volusia County, we have enjoyed momentous growth over the past few decades. In the last decade alone, we have experienced 14% growth in our county population, which is expected to reach nearly 675,000 by the year 2045 based on Bureau of Economic and Business Research projections.
Over the years, federal, state, and local governments have worked together to implement improvements along I‐95. These include the construction of new interchanges and major modifications to existing interchanges. For example, a $206 million project completed in 2020 made improvements to the I‐4/I‐95/US 92 interchange along with widening I‐95 from four lanes to six lanes from north of State Road 44 to north of US 92. Additionally, there have been operational improvements at the SR 442 and SR 44 interchanges, and a complete resurfacing of I-95.
Currently, four interchange projects are underway in Volusia County.
I-95 at US 1 interchange: A Project Development and Environment Study and Design is concurrently underway for the existing interchange at I-95 and US 1 in Ormond beach. This interchange was constructed as part of the original interstate system and needs modernization to improve its safety and overall operation. The PD&E Study is evaluating improvements to the I-95 interchange as well as the approximately one-mile segment of US 1 between Plantation Oaks Boulevard, Broadway Avenue and Destination Daytona Lane. The purpose of this study is to improve safety, accommodate future travel demand, and enhance pedestrian connectivity. On January 30, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the Moving Florida Forward initiative to expedite transportation projects over the next four years, which includes $340 million in construction funding for this project. Residents are urged to attend the upcoming public hearing scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on March 30 at The Chapel, 1805 US 1, Ormond Beach. More information on the project is available online at https://www.cflroads.com/project/419772-2.
I-95 at LPGA Boulevard interchange: The interchange at I-95 at LPGA Boulevard provides the northern gateway to Daytona Beach. The area has experienced unprecedented growth in recent years. What used to be a rural area back in the 1980s, is now home to several major residential and commercial developments. In addition, a number of new major developments have been approved in the area and many more are coming. This project will improve the interchange as well as widen LPGA Boulevard from US 92 to Williamson Boulevard, including the Tomoka River Bridge,a in coordination with Volusia County and Daytona Beach. The right-of-way is partially funded for fiscal year 2027, while construction is currently unfunded. More information on the project, including alternatives, can be found online at https://www.cflroads.com/project/448456-1.
I-95 at Pioneer Trail interchange: Construction of this project could begin as early as this fall and would add access/exit to I-95 between SR 421 and SR 44. Without the proposed interchange, the existing interchanges will experience severe congestion given the future development that is already approved and/or underway in the area. The Pioneer Trail interchange will reduce congestion at adjacent interchanges by diverting traffic and providing more travel options. A reduction of up to 70% in travel delays is expected at the SR 421 interchange and 75% at the SR 44 interchange. The construction cost is expected to be around $100 million and the project is currently funded. More information on the project is available online at https://www.cflroads.com/project/436292-1.
I-95 at Maytown Road interchange: This interchange is being coordinated with Volusia County and is planned to be funded by the Miami Corporation to help accommodate their development in the area. The project is included in the Connect 2045 Long Range Transportation Plan and the 2022 Volusia County Comprehensive Plan. However, the project has not gone through state and federal planning, project development or environmental approval processes.
Looking ahead, the Florida Department of Transportation is embarking on a strategic plan for I‐95 to develop a long-term, shared vision with the members of the communities and local stakeholders along the corridor. The plan will include all applicable modes of transportation and will address various goals with respect to mobility, safety, resiliency/environment, and technology. Community engagement will be a key aspect of the project, and everyone is invited to share ideas and feedback in an open, inclusive, and respectful setting.
Despite how much has changed since it was built in the 1960s, I-95 continues to be vital to the communities around it.
Maryam Ghyabi-White is the CEO & President of Ghyabi Consulting & Management, LLC and serves as an adjunct professor at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. She is also a consultant to FDOT and local governments on complex infrastructure projects throughout the State of Florida. She serves as Vice Chair of the St. Johns Water Management District. She is also an avid supporter of Pace Center for Girls and serves on the National Board of Directors.