The First Coast Expressway currently runs 15.1 miles north from SR 21 (Blanding Boulevard), between Middleburg and Lakeside, to Interstate 10 at Whitehouse in Jacksonville. The state road formerly followed Branan Field Road north to SR 134 and Chaffee Road (CR 115C), and Cecil Commerce Center Parkway, an at-grade highway built in anticipation of the tolled expressway north to I-10. Upgrades to SR 23 were previously listed under the Branan Field-Chaffee Expressway name between Middleburg and I-10. Future extensions of the route south and east from Middleburg are also part of the First Coast Expressway linking SR 21 in Clay County with Interstate 95 in St. Johns County.

Florida 23 - First Coast Expressway Highway Guides

The northernmost stretch of SR 23 opened between SR 134 (103rd Street) and I-10 at Exit 350 on October 1, 2009. Constructed over a three year period for $62-million, the at-grade expressway (Cecil Commerce Parkway) carried two lanes from SR 134 to New World Avenue, and four lanes from New World Avenue to I-10.1 The road improved access to Cecil Commerce Park, an industrial and business park at the site of former Naval Air Station Cecil Field.

Work started on September 16, 2013 upgraded Cecil Commerce Parkway to limited access standards. The $77-million project includes expansion of SR 23 to four lanes, from 103rd Street to New World Avenue, and the addition of interchanges at New World Avenue, SR 228 (Normandy Boulevard) and SR 134. Work also realigned Chaffee Road away from SR 23 to directly connect with Samaritan Way.2 This phase of road work was scheduled through summer 2016 and continues through fall 2018.

The second phase of work to upgrade SR 23 focuses on the 7.3-mile segment from Argyle Forest Boulevard south to SR 21 (Blanding Boulevard) in Middleburg. Opened to traffic in July 2018, $84.8-million in construction between May 2014 and late 2016 fall 2018 added a second roadway to SR 23, from near Argyle Forest Boulevard south to Blanding Boulevard, and built a diamond interchange at Argyle Forest Boulevard. This work was preceded by a $13.2 million project to build frontage roads from Oak Leaf Plantation Parkway south to Old Jennings Road.2

Other work along the First Coast Expressway includes the addition of ramps from Interstate 10 at SR 23 to U.S. 90 (Beaver Street) to enhance access to industrial interests along the US route. This project wrapped up in early August 2018.

The remainder of the First Coast Expressway is partitioned into two segments. Work on FCE Segment 2, from SR 21 (Blanding Boulevard) south to U.S. 17 in Green Cove Springs, will start in January 2019. Split in two two phases, the northern section of Segment 2 runs through 2025, with the southern segment, from north of SR 16 to U.S. 17, estimated for completion in 2026. Design work, permitting and right-of-way acquisitions for FCE Segment 3 are underway through 2020. Construction is forecast to begin in 2023 on the extension of SR 23 east across the St. Johns River at the Shands Bridge (SR 16) to Interstate 95 St. Johns County.


Florida 23 north - prior to construction of the First Coast Expressway
Trailblazers lined Florida 23 northward from Blanding Boulevard to Interstate 10. This assembly was posted 14 miles south of I-10 at the signalized intersection with big box retail both west and east of Branan Field Road. Photo taken 06/13/08.
Old Jennings Road intersected Branan Field Road at this traffic light. The road branches west from Florida 21 (Blanding Boulevard), serving a number of newer residential subdivisions to an end at Junction Drive. A frontage road system stems north from Old Jennings Road along the First Coast Expressway now. Photo taken 06/13/08.
Trail Ridge Road spurred west from Branan Field Road to the Two Creeks suburban area. The First Coast Expressway was constructed along the east side of this intersection. Frontage roads now provide access to Trail Ridge Road west in addition to Texas-style U-turn ramps below the toll road mainline. Photo taken 06/13/08.
This non-cutout trailblazer for Interstate 10 stood beyond the intersection with Devilwood Street west. The SR 23 frontage roads system built in place of Branan Field Road tie into Oak Leaf Plantation Parkway west before merging onto the First Coast Expressway at the South Prong of Double Branch. Photo taken 06/13/08.
Kindlewood Drive spurred east from Branan Field Road to the Kindlewood subdivision. This intersection was shifted to the north side frontage road (Challenger Drive). Photo taken 06/13/08.
Branan Field Road kinked eastward ahead of the south end of Oakleaf Plantation Parkway. Later signalized, this intersection was replaced with a diverging diamond interchange type configuration with the SR 23 frontage road system below the toll road main line. Oakleaf Plantation Parkway arcs westward from SR 23 through the sprawling Oakleaf Plantation community. Photo taken 12/14/07.
Spanning the South Prong of Double Branch on Branan Field Chaffee Road north. This bridge was incorporated into the eventual southbound lanes of the First Coast Expressway. Photo taken 12/14/07.
This traffic light with Plantation Oaks Boulevard, which links Oakleaf Plantation to the west with Oakleaf Village Parkway to the east, was replaced with a new overpass by late September 2010.4 The $8.2-million project was one of three stimulus projects awarded in the Jacksonville area in 2008.5 Photo taken 06/13/08.
Crossing the Duval County and Jacksonville city line along Branan Field Road northbound. Photo taken 06/13/08.
Florida 23 expanded to four lanes ahead of the intersection with Oakleaf Plantation Parkway south and Argyle Forest Boulevard east. This at-grade intersection was replaced with a single point interchange. Photo taken 06/13/08.
Argyle Forest Boulevard constitutes a four-lane parkway east from SR 23 through a bevy of suburban development to SR 21 (Blanding Boulevard) at the Argyle Forest community. Photo taken 12/14/07.
A Florida 23 shield appeared just north of Argyle Forest Boulevard and ahead of the expanded four-lane expressway. Photo taken 03/14/10.
Future toll road signs also accompanied Florida 23 northward to Interstate 10. Photo taken 03/14/10.
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Speed limits increased to 65 miles per hour as Florida 23 shifted westward across a portion of the former Naval Air Station Cecil Field. The 1999-closed military base is now a part of Cecil Commerce Park. Photos taken 06/13/08.
A traffic light operated at Florida 23 and Florida 134 (103rd Street). Photo taken 03/14/10.
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2 photos
Florida 134 stretches 11.50 miles east from Florida 228 (Normandy Boulevard) to U.S. 17 (Roosevelt Boulevard) at Venetia and Jacksonville Naval Air Station. The state road meets I-295 at Oak Hill. Photo taken 12/14/07. Second photo taken 03/14/10.
103rd Street (SR 134) heads east from SR 23 to Jacksonville Heights, North Oak Hill and Wesconnett. Westward the mostly rural four-lane highway travels to Cecil Commerce Park and New World Avenue, which turns SR 134 north to SR 228. Photo taken 06/13/08.
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Continuing north from 103rd Street, Florida 23 originally split with Chaffee Road after this reassurance shield. Photos taken 03/14/10.
The 2009-opened Cecil Commerce Parkway extended SR 23 northwest from Chaffee Road just beyond SR 134. Work started in September 2013 realigned Chaffee Road eastward to its tie in with Samaritan Way, a local road connecting with 103rd Street. Direct access to Chaffee Road was subsequently eliminated. Photo taken 03/14/10.
Florida 23 (Cecil Commerce Parkway) angled northwest toward the planned parclo interchange with Florida 228 (Normandy Boulevard). Photo taken 03/14/10.
The northbound roadway previously carried two-way traffic while crews completed work on the future southbound lanes for SR 23. Photo taken 12/13/17.
Approaching the former at-grade intersection with SR 228 (Normandy Boulevard) on SR 23 (Cecil Commerce Parkway) north. This is now Exit 42 from the First Coast Expressway. Photo taken 03/14/10.
An Interstate 10 trailblazer took the place of Florida 228 shields as Florida 23 (Cecil Commerce Parkway) entered the signalized intersection with Normandy Boulevard. Photo taken 03/14/10.
Cecil Commerce Parkway north at the former rural intersection with Florida 228 (Normandy Boulevard). Photo taken 03/14/10.
Florida 23 (Cecil Commerce Center Parkway) continued northwest from Florida 228 (Normandy Boulevard) another 3.5 miles to its terminus with Interstate 10. Photo taken 03/03/13.
Another future toll road sign for SR 23 preceded the planned parclo interchange with New World Avenue. Photo taken 03/03/13.
The upcoming intersection with New World Avenue linked the state road with Normandy Boulevard and Florida 134 (103rd Street) near the now defunct Cecil Field. Photo taken 03/03/13.
Northbound motorists along SR 23 reached Interstate 10, 2.1 miles north of New World Avenue. Photo taken 03/14/10.
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Florida 23 north at the temporary signalized intersection with New World Avenue. Previously the local road ended just east of here, but the boulevard now ends at Chaffee Road (CR 115C). Photo taken 03/03/13. Second photo taken 12/13/17.
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2 photos
North of New World Avenue, Florida 23 upgraded into a four-lane, divided expressway for the remaining two miles. Photo taken 03/03/13. Second photo taken 12/13/17.
Motorists were reminded one final time of the future aspirations for Florida 23 prior to the one mile guide sign for Interstate 10. Photo taken 03/03/13.
Florida 23 ended at a trumpet interchange with Interstate 10 one mile west of Chaffee Road. Photo taken 03/03/13.
Approaching Interstate 10 prior to construction to extend the First Coast Expressway north to nearby U.S. 90 (Beaver Street). Photo taken 03/03/13.
Florida 23 arrived at the departure for Interstate 10 east. A lane drop followed on the connecting ramp for Interstate 10 west to Lake City. Photo taken 03/03/13.
The 15.1-mile route of Florida 23 came to an end as motorists defaulted onto a loop ramp for Interstate 10 west to Lake City and I-75. Photo taken 03/03/13.
Florida 23 south - prior to construction of the First Coast Expressway
Several future toll road signs for SR 23 were erected along the state road corridor between Interstate 10 and Argyle Forest Boulevard in south Duval County. Photo taken 03/14/10.
Another mileage guide sign notified motorists of the upcoming intersection with New World Avenue in one mile. Middleburg lies 18 miles ahead along Florida 21 southwest of the original southern terminus of Florida 23. Photo taken 03/03/13.
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The signalized intersection joining Florida 23 (Cecil Commerce Parkway) with New World Drive was replaced with a parclo interchange. Photos taken 03/03/13.
Another future toll road sign for SR 23 appeared south of the New World Avenue intersection. Photo taken 03/03/13.
Initially built with two lanes, the section of SR between New World Avenue and SR 134 had provisions put in place for the eventual conversion to a limited access highway. Photo taken 03/03/13.
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Florida 23 south at the temporary intersection with Florida 228 (Normandy Boulevard). The state road stretches between Maxville, at the southwest corner of Duval County and Riverside in Jacksonville. Photos taken 03/03/13.
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SR 23 reassurance shield and future toll road sign posted as Cecil Commerce Parkway continued southeast from SR 228 to overtake Chaffee Road. Photos taken 03/14/10.
One mile north of Florida 134 (103rd Street) on Florida 23 south. Construction replaced the forthcoming at-grade intersection with a parclo interchange. A planned single point interchange followed in five miles with Argyle Forest Boulevard. Photo taken 03/14/10.
Chaffee Road combined with SR 23 (Cecil Commerce Parkway) south at an at-grade intersection until September 2013, when construction commenced to realign the road away from SR 23 east to Samaritan Way. Photo taken 03/14/10.
SR 23 replaced the final 0.2 miles of Chaffee Road to 103rd Street. Chaffee Road previously ended at SR 134, an east-west route straddling the northern boundary of Naval Air Station Cecil Field, a facility closed in 1999. Photo taken 03/14/10.
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Florida 23 expanded to a four-lane expressway from Florida 134 (103rd Street) south to Argyle Forest Boulevard. Speed limits increased to 65 miles per hour along the uninterrupted stretch. Photos taken 03/14/10.
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Shifting slightly eastward, Florida 23 (Branan-Chaffee Expressway) skimmed the northeastern corner of Cecil Commerce Park, the former N.A.S. Cecil Field, just west of several residential subdivisions. Photos taken 03/14/10.
A traffic light concluded the south end of the four-lane section of SR 23 with Argyle Forest Boulevard east and Oakleaf Plantation Parkway west. Photo taken 03/14/10.
A SPUI replaced the at-grade intersection at SR 23 and Argyle Plantation Boulevard. Argyle Plantation Boulevard winds west from SR 21 (Blanding Boulevard) at Argyle Forest to become Oakleaf Plantation Parkway at SR 23. Oakleaf Plantation provides one of two access points to the sprawling Oakleaf Plantation community west of SR 23. Photo taken 03/14/10.

Sources:

  1. "Cecil parkway in Jacksonville opens Thursday." The Florida Times-Union, September 30, 2009.
  2. Branan-Field Chaffee Expressway, FDOT - First Coast Expressway (project web site).
  3. First Coast Expressway - Phase 1 fact sheet, FDOT - First Coast Expressway (project web site).


Photo Credits:

12/14/07, 06/13/08, 03/14/10, 03/03/13, 12/13/17 by AARoads

Connect with:
Interstate 10
U.S. 90
Florida 228 / County Road 228
Duval County Road 115C - Chaffee Road

Page Updated 10-23-2018.