The Southside Connector consists of a 2.9-mile freeway linking the east end of Arlington Expressway (Florida 115) with the south approach to the N.B. Broward Bridge (Interstate 295) across the St. Johns River. The suburban type freeway primarily serves as a commuter route from Interstate 295 toward Arlington and Downtown.

The Southside Connector originally consisted of a direct link between Florida 9A and the Dames Point Bridge south to U.S. 90 Alternate (Southside Boulevard). There were no ramps at Merrill Road, a diamond interchange joined the route with Regency Square Boulevard and the south end consisted of 1982-built overpasses above the Arlington Expressway east end with no direct access between the two freeways.

The Jacksonville Transportation Authority envisioned improvements to the Southside Connector as part of the Regency Bypass project. Named for the adjacent Regency Square Mall at Arlington Expressway during the design phase, the project included upgrades to the entire Southside Connector. Construction was partially funded from a 1997 bond package1 and the Better Jacksonville Plan approved by voters in 2000.2 That plan earmarked $251 million for construction of 12 interchanges across the city.

Work included a $12.4 million contract for the interchange at Regency Square Boulevard, which coincided with the privately financed extension of Tredinick Parkway west from Monument Road to the Southside Connector service roads. Completed in summer 2005, this work modified the exit at Regency Square Boulevard into a folded diamond interchange and added new ramps for Tredinick Parkway.

Further north and completed by June 2005, were the bridges carrying Florida 113 over Merrill Road. This work was followed by ramp construction to November 2005. Construction reconfigured the southbound ramp for Merrill Road to access eastbound only, as a new ramp from adjacent Florida 9A was added for westbound.3

The Southside Connector provided the lone access point to the Dames Point Bridge from the south in 1989. Outside of the interchange with New Regency Square Boulevard, the state road traveled at-grade.

The last aspect of the Southside Connector built were the two flyovers linking Florida 113 with Florida 115 (Arlington Expressway) by Regency Square Mall. A 29 foot high flyover takes motorists from SR 113 south to SR 115 north and a 60 foot high flyover shuttles drivers from SR 115 south onto SR 113 north. These ramps were scheduled for completion in mid-2006 as part of a $28 million contract to reconstruct the overall exchange between the two freeways.1 The northbound flyover for the Southside Connector finally opened to traffic on August 17, 2007, followed by the southbound flyover the following day. Work on the project commenced in January 2004 and cost of $32.7 million overall.4


Florida 113 south
The first reassurance marker for Florida 113 was posted within the wye interchange separating the Southside Connector from the East Beltway of Interstate 295. It was removed by 2011. Photo taken 06/13/08.
A single point urban interchange joins the Southside Connector with the Wonderwood Connector to the immediate south of the split with I-295. The forthcoming exit leads to Florida 116 (Merrill Road) east. Photo taken 06/13/08.
The SR 116 off-ramp ties into a loop ramp from adjacent I-295 north before reaching Merrill Road. State Road 116 begins here and lines Merrill Road east to the Holly Oaks, East Arlington and Fort Carolina Shores communities. The $122 million Wonderwood Connector extends the route east across the Intracoastal Waterway. The four-phase project to build the bridges and new roadway to Mayport was completed in December 2008.5 Photo taken 06/13/08.
Motorists departing from I-295 north to Merrill Road can access both directions of the east-west arterial while Florida 113 defaults drivers onto Florida 116 east.
Prior to the completion of the Wonderwood Connector, Florida 116 traveled east to Monument Road only. Photo taken 06/13/08.
Frontage roads line the Southside Connector between Florida 116 (Merrill Road) and Regency Square Boulevard. The four roadways pass under Interstate 295 in this scene. Photo taken 06/13/08.
A slip ramp follows onto the south side service road ahead of Tredinick Parkway. Tredinick Parkway links Florida 113 with adjacent big box retail and Monument Road to the east. Photo taken 06/13/08.
Florida 113 south defaults motorists to the junction of Arlington Expressway and Southside Boulevard by Regency Square Mall. All local access should take the service road south to Regency Square Boulevard. Photo taken 06/13/08.
The south service road extends beyond Tredinick Parkway to form a folded diamond interchange with Regency Square Boulevard North by the aforementioned mall. Photo taken 06/13/08.
Florida 113 (Southside Connector) shifts westward ahead of the directional T interchange with Florida 115 (Arlington Expressway) north. Arlington Expressway comprises a full freeway west from Florida 113 to the Mathews Bridge across the St. Johns River into Midtown. Photo taken 06/13/08.
A confirming marker for SR 113 south appears as an auxiliary lane joins the Southside Connector from Regency Square Boulevard to SR 115 (Arlington Expressway) north. State Road 115 takes a stair stepped route throughout Jacksonville, doubling as the hidden counterpart of U.S. 90 Alternate to the south and U.S. 1 Alternate and Interstate 95 through East Jacksonville and Brentwood. Photo taken 06/13/08.
Arlington Expressway comprises a 1950s-built limited access route joining Arlington with Downtown. The freeway concludes at the couplet of State and Union Streets, which become a part of U.S. 17, 23 and 90 between the central business district and Springfield. Photo taken 06/13/08.
The remainder of Florida 113 south leads directly to Florida 115 (Southside Boulevard), as it overtakes the ending Southside Connector as a surface arterial between the Holiday Hill / Century and Southside Estates communities. Photo taken 06/13/08.
A single lane ramp brings the SR 115 southbound mainline onto Southside Boulevard just ahead of U.S. 90 Alternate west and Florida 10 (Atlantic Boulevard) east. SR 113 ends as SR 115 becomes the hidden component of U.S. 90A between Atlantic Boulevard and Beach Boulevard (U.S. 90). Photo taken 06/13/08.
Florida 113 north
Florida 113 begins as the Southside Connector elevates to pass over the surface ramps linking Florida 115 with Arlington Expressway by Regency Square Mall. The freeway proceeds one half mile north to a folded diamond interchange with Regency Square Boulevard. Photo taken 03/14/10.
A 60 foot high flyover was added from SR 115 south to SR 113 north by August 2007 as part of the Better Jacksonville Plan approved in 2000. Photo taken 03/14/10.
The flyover from SR 115 south forms an auxiliary lane to back to back ramps for Regency Square Boulevard and Tredinick Parkway. The first shield for SR 113 appears as the freeway passes west of the adjacent mall. Photo taken 03/14/10.
A loop ramp takes motorists to Regency Square Boulevard, which leads west to Mill Creek Road and east to several big box stores and Monument Road. Photo taken 03/14/10.
A slip ramp follows with two lanes onto the adjacent service road as it leads north to Tredinick Parkway. Tredinick Parkway spurs west from Monument Road to new development along the west side of Florida 113. Photo taken 03/14/10.
The Southside Connector Service Road parallels Florida 113 north to the single point urban interchange with Merrill Road (Florida 116). Photo taken 03/14/10.
Leaving the diamond interchange with Tredinick Road, motorists continuing north along the Southside Connector meet Merrill Road and Florida 116 (Wondderwood Connector) in one half mile. Photo taken 03/14/10.
Florida 113 concludes at Interstate 295 north in a half mile. Motorists joining the East Beltway reach I-95 just west of Oceanway in 12 miles. Photo taken 03/14/10.
Sign changes made at for the Merrill Road off-ramps added the Wonderwood Connector for Florida 116 and the I-295 south for Merrill Road west. Florida 116 was extended east to Mayport when the Wonderwood Connector was completed across the Intracoastal Waterway in December 2008. Photo taken 03/14/10.
A wye interchange concludes Florida 113 north at the south approach to the N.B. Broward Bridge across the St. Johns River. Photo taken 03/14/10.

Sources:

  1. "Help for Regency traffic begins Bypass work scheduled to be done in mid-2006." Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, FL), February 16, 2004.
  2. "OVERPASSES: THE GOOD THE BAD THE UGLY Unsightly hunks of concrete are being replaced by more eye-catching designs in many cities." Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, FL), March 20, 2004.
  3. "Merrill Road open after a week's work The roadwork at the Southside Connector was finished ahead of schedule." Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, FL), November 5, 2005.
  4. "Jacksonville Journal - ONE HIGHWAY RAMP CLOSES, ANOTHER RAMP OPENS." Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, FL), August 18, 2007.


Photo Credits:

06/13/08, 03/14/10 by AARoads

Connect with:
Interstate 295 - East and West Beltway
Florida 115

Page Updated 06-13-2016.