The US Department of Transportation said construction work has begun on the first phase of the state road 9B project near Jacksonville in Florida.

The project, worth $76.8m, is almost entirely funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The project work includes building a new five-mile, four-lane divided highway, which is scheduled to be completed in 2012.

The move is expected to improve livability and relieve congestion by providing extra transportation choice for commuters and tourists.