The Interstate 95 express lanes are advancing to the north. This week, workers began installing more plastic poles on northbound I-95, part of the “Phase 2” construction that will eventually extend the lanes into Broward County.
While the Florida Department of Transportation plans to expand both northbound and southbound express lanes to Davie Boulevard, the current construction is only on the northbound lanes and will stop at the Broward County line.
There is nothing worse than a three paragraph preamble to a listicle. So all you need to know for this, in case you haven’t been following our End of the Road series, is that WLRN spent the last year doing stories about the final 87 miles of Interstate 95 -- the South Florida stretch. We’ve learned some very useful/strange things along the way.
Please enjoy the following facts for personal use and distribution while attending local cocktail and dinner parties.
When Arthur Bowditch Fay set out to chronicle his 300-mile Interstate 95 commute from Spotsylvania, Va. to Leonia, N.J., he came to the realization that the English language did not have the words to describe what he was seeing and doing.
So he invented those words:
dreamile (noun) [dree-mahyl] “The distance traveled while... daydreaming. Usually nothing of the dreamile is remembered.”
About 30 years ago, Hancock Advertising, Inc., was awarded eight of the first 10 permits to put billboards on the City of Miami’s highways. Seven of those billboards went up on Interstate 95. It would take a two-year legal battle over the word “on” to determine whether or not the eighth sign was also on I-95.
At best, the signs were confusing. At worst, an incentive to illegally pylon-jump between express and non-express lanes.
On Wednesday, the Florida Department of Transportation will shut down two problematic electronic 95 Express tolls signs: one above the northbound 95 express lanes near Northwest 54th Street and one on the southbound lanes near Northwest 144th Street.
“It really doesn’t add benefit at this point,” says Rory Santana, who runs the 95 Express system for 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.
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.
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.