The End of the Road

The End of the Road
7:31 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Inside "Florida's Toll Lane Boom"

95 Express was Florida's first dynamic tolling system but it will not be the last.
Credit FDOT

As part of our End of the Road series, we’ve reported extensively on the so-called “Lexus Lanes” on I-95. In the 95 express lanes drivers can pay a toll to get around regular gridlock traffic. That toll varies based on how many car are piling into the express lanes at that moment. The more demand, the higher the toll -- to keep things moving.

The lanes were the first of their kind in Florida, but a new report from the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting says 95 Express is the future for Florida’s highways.

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The End of the Road
8:48 pm
Sun September 21, 2014

Audience Feedback: How To Fix The 95 Express "Closed" Sign Problem

595 Express uses warning gates to help stop drivers from entering the wrong way into the reversible express system.
Credit FDOT

An internal FDOT report shows more and more drivers are plowing past bright yellow “closed” signs and getting into 95 Express when the lanes are technically shut down for accidents or broken-down vehicles. But the Florida Highway Patrol can’t enforce the signs because they’re the wrong color: yellow-on-black  instead of black-and-white.

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The End of the Road
6:37 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

"Closed" Signs Don't Stop South Florida Drivers From Using 95 Express

More and more South Florida drivers are getting into the 95 express lanes when the sign reads "CLOSED."
Credit Kenny Malone

Carlos Lora doesn’t care what the electronic toll sign for 95 Express says. Fifty cents, $6.00, $10.50 -- it doesn’t matter. After a long day at work as a South Beach condo manager, he’s getting in his Mini Cooper to go home to Hollywood Beach, and he's using the fast lanes to get there.

“And even if it says ‘closed,’ I’m guilty of still jumping on,” Lora says.

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The End of the Road
2:00 am
Mon September 1, 2014

I-95 And Its Eclectic Array Of Road Debris

Credit U.S. Government Accountability Office

The blonde wig flew out of nowhere, “flapping like a bird” as it lodged in the driver’s side windshield wiper of Jorge Garay’s delivery truck.

“Scared the viva Cuba libre out of me,” Garay wrote.

His tale is one of more than a dozen absurd -- and sometimes harrowing -- accounts of close encounters with road debris on Interstate 95 provided in response to a Public Insight Network query.

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End of the Road
10:35 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Stretch Of I-95 Memorializes Fallen Trooper

A stretch of I-95 will be named after Trooper Hurd. In her last three years, she made 409 DUI arrests.
Credit Taimy Alvarez / Sun Sentinel

Two new signs were put up on Interstate 95 this month. They read “Trooper Kimberly Ann Hurd Memorial Highway” to remember Florida's first female trooper killed in the line of duty 22 years ago.

Kimberly grew up in North Collins, New York. Her mother Beverly Boltz says her daughter was a private person with an adventurous side.

“She was always independent. If she said she was going to do something she'd do it," says Beverly. "As a small child, I'd find her up in a tree or hanging out from a branch.”

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The End of the Road
8:11 am
Mon August 18, 2014

What’s With That Insanely Bumpy Section Of I-95?

A "rehabilitation" project is making for a rocky ride on southbound I-95.
Credit Florida Department of Transportation

Miami's Southbound Interstate 95 from 153rd Street to 125th Street looks -- and feels -- like it was engineered by Pablo Picasso.

Just south of the Golden Glades Interchange, the pavement turns into a patchwork of concrete slabs. Hundreds of them, jutting up as high as one-eighth of an inch above the expressway’s surface.

“It felt like we were literally traveling over numerous speed bumps,” public safety advocate Mike Arias wrote in an email to the Florida Department of Transportation. “Like if we were riding over a roller coaster and almost ready to puke.”

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The End of the Road
4:46 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

How Much Do Free 95 Express Trips Cost The State?

Florida's future highway: express lanes but no free rides.
Credit Florida Department of Transportation

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is finished with free trips in the fast lanes. The newly opened 595 Express and the planned 75 Express and Palmetto Express projects do not and will not include free rides for anyone.

But 95 Express, the first system of its kind in Florida, was the exception. Those lanes were created by converting high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes into toll lanes, so HOV toll exemptions were initially grandfathered in.

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The End of the Road
6:48 am
Mon July 28, 2014

FDOT: Florida In Relatively Good Shape If Highway Trust Fund Goes Broke

The fuel tax makes up 90 percent of the Highway Trust Fund.
Credit Just2shutter

While state transportation departments around the country have been scrambling in anticipation of a potential Highway Trust Fund insolvency, Florida officials aren’t sweating quite yet.

The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that the Highway Trust Fund, which trickles down and helps pay for everything from highways to sidewalks, will run out of money in August. The U.S. House of Representatives has already passed a bill that would temporarily fix the problem.

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The End of the Road
6:45 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Why Most Highway Signs Aren't All Caps Anymore

The sign at the end of the road.
Credit Gregory Castillo

A drive down I-95 is full of dozens, probably hundreds, of tiny design decisions that are ultimately about driver attention. From the lettering on a road sign to the shape of a road, engineers are constantly trying to find a sweet spot between getting a driver’s attention and distracting them.

As part of our End of the Road series we wanted to ask an expert about the thinking behind some of the things drivers see everyday on I-95 but aren’t supposed to pay much attention to.

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The End of the Road
4:47 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

What It's Like To Have A Gun Pulled On You On The Highway

Photos of Alyce and Neil Robertson from the beginning of their marriage and from recently.
Credit Alyce and Neil Robertson

Alyce and Neil Robertson were running late to a wedding one day 20 or 30 years ago. Because they were running late, they were arguing in the car, until some maniac on the road did something crazy.

Naturally, some of the details have slipped over the years. But the two agree they were on their way to a friend’s wedding and Alyce was mad at Neil for making them late. Here’s how they remember the rest...

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The End of the Road
6:55 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Are "Lexus Lanes" Really Lexus Lanes?

The term "Lexus Lanes" seems originated in the mid '90s and became a synonym for all express lane projects. But how accurate is it really?
Credit Concavo Wheels, (Creative Commons License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

Brian Rick is on a crusade. As a spokesman for the Florida Department of Transportation he has chewed the ear of dozens, maybe a hundred people -- reporters, friends, anybody who refers to 95 Express as the “Lexus Lanes.”

“You don’t see a Lexus every two or three cars," Rick says. He notices the pickup trucks and work vans. "If you're delivering auto parts or you're delivering medical supplies... that's where reliability becomes essential. "

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The End of the Road
4:09 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

WLRN-ify My Commute: Let Us Give Your Daily Drive The Public Radio Treatment

Let's go for a ride.
Credit tiverylucky / freedigitalphotos.net

We spend a lot of time together on the road, you (audience) and us (WLRN). If you’re like most of our listeners, we’re with you in the car just about every day -- through your speakers, at least.

But we want to take it to the next level: We want to actually get in the car with your family, your friends, your coworkers.

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The End of the Road
6:00 pm
Sun June 8, 2014

Seriously, What's So Great About I-95?

Credit Kenny Malone

As part of our End of the Road series -- about the final 87 miles of I-95 -- we’ve asked a lot of questions: Why don’t people seem to get in trouble for speeding in the express lanes? What even is the speed limit in the express lanes? When you accidentally cut someone off, what should you do when they pull a gun on you?

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The End of the Road
5:39 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

I-95: Road Songs With A #@!%ing Twist

One of the 1,000 vinyl copies originally made of August Campbell's "The I-95 Song."
Credit Photo by Kenny Malone/Record courtesy of Kathy Heinly

This story originally ran on February 12, 2014.

They write songs about roads: "Route 66," "Highway 61 Revisited"."Dusty, old roads with iconic signage that belongs on a pair of blue jeans.

“When you talk about ... the road as an attractive proposition, usually it’s open and it’s driveable,” says composer Carlos Rafael Rivera, who teaches American creative music at the University of Miami Frost School of Music. “I-95 is a little bit of the opposite. So I can see how songs would be written in a negative way about it."

"Negative" is, perhaps, kind.

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The End of the Road
8:54 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

95 Express Has Hit New Max Toll At Least 12 Times, But Appears To Be Working

95 Express toll sign at an onramp just north of NW 36th Street.
Credit Kenny Malone

The maximum possible toll on 95 Express increased from $7 to $10.50 on March 1. Two days later at 5:30 p.m., the cost of using the northbound express lanes hit the $10.50 maximum.

Rory Santana from the Florida Department of Transportation says a truck jack-knifed and backed up the highway, so people flooded 95 Express and drove the price into the ceiling.

Since March 1 the cost of a ride in the fast lane has hit $10.50 at least 13 times.  Nine of those cases occurred on the northbound express lanes, seven of which happened between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. 

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