Gov. Scott announces I-95 widening project to start this year

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Gov. Rick Scott was in Daytona Beach Thursday morning at the Daytona International Speedway and made a major announcement about Interstate 95.

The Florida Department of Transportation said it finally has funding to widen I-95, and Scott announced FDOT is moving the project up and construction will begin this year.

The $250 million project will include the widening of I-95 to six lanes from State Road 44 in New Smyrna Beach to just south of Daytona Beach, which means I-95 will be six lanes from the Florida-Georgia line to Miami.

Scott also spoke about the new sidewalks and new pedestrian bridge on International Speedway Boulevard.

"I mean, you look at what the speedway is doing here, all of this development across the street, you know that they're going to need more things done. That's why we're here," said Scott.

"It's huge for us," said track president Joie Chitwood.

Chitwood said managing race day traffic is crucial to the success of the new speedway currently under construction.

"We're talking about tens and tens of thousands of cars," he said. "We'll park in one of our parking lots alone close to 20,000 cars."

Scott said the state's surplus in its transportation budget is helping fund the projects. He credits a surge in tourism, going from 82 million visitors in 2010 to close to 95 million last year.

"Every 85 tourists is another job in this state and they're coming here for our attractions, they're coming here for our beaches, and they're coming here for our weather; and people are moving here," said Scott.

The improvements to I-95 won't be completed until 2019. The new speedway is expected to open in 2016.