The First Double Median U-Turn Intersection (MUT) in Florida
SR 212 (Beach Boulevard) Interchange Improvements
Video courtesy of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).
Beach Boulevard (SR 212) is a heavily traveled thoroughfare, with an annual daily traffic flow exceeding 56,000 vehicles. With no additional right-of-way available to build-out improvements, the project team were challenged to find a new solution to address the significant congestion and safety issues.
The project team responded with the state of Florida’s first double Median U-Turn (MUT) Intersection. The MUT replaces direct left turns with indirect left turns using a U-turn movement in a wide median. The MUT improves safety by reducing the number of traffic conflict points from the 32 found in a conventional intersection, to just 16, with a signal phase reduction of 20-50%. Even with the added capacity, the design actually increased the amount of greenspace within the exiting right-of-way due to the extra wide medians needed for an MUT.
Throughout the design phase, Crawford, Murphy & Tilly (CMT) was challenged to turn concepts for the intersection configuration into viable plans that addressed all the standards and regulations that apply to an urban intersection. In order to meet the deadline to receive a federal safety grant for the project, the team completed the design work with an accelerated schedule, despite the many revisions introduced along the way. CMT continued to refine the design throughout construction and even made improvements after the intersection was opened to traffic by observing motorist behavior.
The new Double MUT Intersection has been successful in reducing congestion and improving commuter times in this area of Jacksonville while addressing the safety and traffic issues. It is a demonstration of how innovative solutions applied to civil infrastructure projects can result in considerable social, environmental, and economic benefits to the community, while serving as a model for projects facing similar challenges. This project will also serve as a model for other projects in the state that are faced with similar challenges.