PortMiami Tunnel Is Now Open To Drivers

Aug 3, 2014
Carl Juste / Miami Herald

The PortMiami tunnel opened Sunday after months of delays.

Originally, the tunnel was to open to traffic starting in May-- an opening date which got pushed back to mid-July before the opening this weekend.

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.


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.

Kenny Malone

To be perfectly honest, Bobby Wells, a Harley-riding, python-owning Miami lawyer, doesn’t really like his Toyota Prius.

But he does love that red and blue “95 Express” registration decal on the bottom left of his hybrid car’s windshield.

“Yeah,” said Wells, “the reason I bought this car was to get that sticker.”

I-95’s express lanes — where the price of admission ranges from 50 cents to $10.50 depending on traffic — are free to registered hybrids. But that’s not going to last forever.

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.

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...

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. "

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?

Displacing Overtown Residents To Make Up For Rupture I-95 Caused

May 30, 2014
Emily Michot / Miami Herald

At times, the two-story white house with bright blue shutters and columns that seem to reach for the sky was mistaken for a church in Miami's Overtown neighborhood.

But for 80-year-old Benjamin Brown, the property that had been in his family since 1917 always meant just one thing: home.

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.