JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- For the second time in two months, a driver went into the retention pond at the exit ramp onto Philips Highway off Interstate 295 and it has once again raised questions about safety in the area.
James Conti, 59, of Jacksonville drove his BMW into the pond at 1:30 a.m. Friday He was able to escape safely.
But on May 10, another man, 55-year old Bradley Brown, drove his Kia into the water and died at the scene.
Two similar accidents 35 days apart.
The Florida Department of Transportation said the ramp meets their
criteria for no guardrail, that the pond is far enough away from the
roadway, but said it will take another look.
The DOT said since First Coast News drew attention to what appears to be a problem, and the possible need for a guardrail, the safety aspects at this exit ramp will be examined.
"Since we have two in the last month, we will definitely go out there and see if there is anything we can do additional to improve the safety," said DOT spokeswoman Gina Busscher.
The speed limit at the exit ramp is 30 miles per hour. The Florida Highway Patrol report said Conti was traveling too fast Friday morning to negotiate the curve.
The DOT says the ramp is designed to be safe at the proper speed limit. Driver Alice Howze took the exit today and she was pretty adamant, telling us she felt it was plenty safe.
"It is people not paying attention to what they are doing, it has nothing to do with the road," she said. "It is driver error, they are not paying attention."
Busscher agrees that drivers do need to follow the speed limit. She said thousands of cars, even big trucks, take this exit every day and don't end up in the pond.
Nevertheless, the DOT will look at this intersection again next week and decide if something else should be done. Possibilities include adding a guardrail, lowering the speed limit or leave the exit as it is.
First Coast News