Transportation engineers are planning to install pay-per-drive express lanes as part of the next big I-95 makeover in Palm Beach County.
Already in use in Miami-Dade County and under construction in Broward, express lanes provide a faster, limited-access drive for commuters who can commit to the entire distance. Tolls rise and fall as a function of traffic congestion.
In Miami, the tolls range from 25 cents to six and seven dollars, according to traffic conditions.
But the project is still a couple of years away. First, the Department of Transportation will be building a new interchange at Spanish River Boulevard for speedier access to Florida Atlantic University. After that -- and, by now, it’s 2015 -- I-95 will be widened to 10 lanes between Glades Road and Linton Boulevard. It’s during that phase of the project that the express lanes will be installed.
What's the point of express lanes? The Sun Sentinel explains:
The purpose of the tolled lanes is to provide a quicker commute for motorists traveling over a long distance, (DOT spokeswoman Barbara) Kelleher said. That's why there are a limited number of entry points to access the lanes.
"You're in separate lanes from the local traffic," she said. "So if you're traveling from Weston to Boca, you would use the express system to get there quickly."
Along with those express lanes will come express buses, which also have been popular between Broward and Miami-Dade running on I-95 and 595..
In its final formation, I-95 through Boca Raton will have two express lanes in each direction and three to four free lanes in each direction.
DOT is pretty taken with the express lane concept. There are also plans to install them on the Palmetto Expressway in western Miami-Dade County and on Florida's Turnpike's Homestead Extension.