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Front Page » Transportation » Finding new uses for old toll plazas

Finding new uses for old toll plazas

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Written by on June 27, 2013

As tolling is about to become all electronic in July on State Road 836, authorities are starting the debate on what to do with the old toll plazas that have served their purpose of collecting cash.

The toll plazas on the expressway will be going away, but ideas are floating in regards to what to replace them with, said Alfred Lurigados, director of engineering of the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority.

A gas station, a smaller version of a turnpike service plaza that people stop at before driving down to the Florida Keys, a meeting center that would work well in an urban setting and an electric-vehicle charging station are all ideas that have come up while brainstorming, Mr. Lurigados said.

His biggest concern as an engineer is how to pipe in water for the repurposed plazas.

“We want to be careful with what we do. We will do more studies and look into options; we want to build something that adds value,” he said.

The authority wants to repurpose the facilities, said Executive Director Javier Rodriguez. The team, he said, will think about ways in which people can get in and out safely. “We don’t want to cause a traffic jam on the expressway.”

The authority wants to meet with the private sector and work together toward a project that would make sense, he said.

The authority is always in need of more resources in order to decongest and update the system, said Rodrgiez Piña, authority board member, but it also has a significant inventory of land.

“Once we go to a complete cashless system, we’re left with large pieces of properties that we don’t need on the sides,” Mr. Rodriguez Piña said. The idea of the service plaza is appealing to him because it would be useful to drivers, offering fuel and something to eat, and create revenue for the authority without raising tolls, which is his main concern.

In regards to the toll plazas, he said, the authority is open to anything.

“We don’t want to stop there; we’re pushing for new forms of revenue,” Mr. Rodriguez Piña said.

One idea he is putting forth is the creation of electricity through kinetic energy produced by cars on highways.

“If the kinetic energy generated by moving vehicles was captured at any given moment, it could produce enough electricity to power over a quarter million homes each day,” says New Energy Technologies Inc., a US company in the process of developing such technology.

Mr. Rodriguez Piña said companies in both the United Kingdom and Israel are working with this kind of expertise. He said he is currently in preliminary discussions with US companies that would be able to provide it.

“If all safety criteria are met,” he said, “we could have cars generating electricity to our system, and it saves users money.”

Finding New Uses For Old Toll Plazas

Written by on June 27, 2013

By Vanessa Zambrano
As tolling is about to become all electronic in July on State Road 836, authorities are starting the debate on what to do with the old toll plazas that have served their purpose of collecting cash.

The toll plazas on the expressway will be going away, but ideas are floating in regards to what to replace them with, said Alfred Lurigados, director of engineering of the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority.

A gas station, a smaller version of a turnpike service plaza that people stop at before driving down to the Florida Keys, a meeting center that would work well in an urban setting and an electric-vehicle charging station are all ideas that have come up while brainstorming, Mr. Lurigados said.

His biggest concern as an engineer is how to pipe in water for the repurposed plazas.

"We want to be careful with what we do. We will do more studies and look into options; we want to build something that adds value," he said.

The authority wants to repurpose the facilities, said Executive Director Javier Rodriguez. The team, he said, will think about ways in which people can get in and out safely. "We don’t want to cause a traffic jam on the expressway."

The authority wants to meet with the private sector and work together toward a project that would make sense, he said.

The authority is always in need of more resources in order to decongest and update the system, said Rodrgiez Piña, authority board member, but it also has a significant inventory of land.

"Once we go to a complete cashless system, we’re left with large pieces of properties that we don’t need on the sides," Mr. Rodriguez Piña said. The idea of the service plaza is appealing to him because it would be useful to drivers, offering fuel and something to eat, and create revenue for the authority without raising tolls, which is his main concern.

In regards to the toll plazas, he said, the authority is open to anything.

"We don’t want to stop there; we’re pushing for new forms of revenue," Mr. Rodriguez Piña said.

One idea he is putting forth is the creation of electricity through kinetic energy produced by cars on highways.

"If the kinetic energy generated by moving vehicles was captured at any given moment, it could produce enough electricity to power over a quarter million homes each day," says New Energy Technologies Inc., a US company in the process of developing such technology.

Mr. Rodriguez Piña said companies in both the United Kingdom and Israel are working with this kind of expertise. He said he is currently in preliminary discussions with US companies that would be able to provide it.

"If all safety criteria are met," he said, "we could have cars generating electricity to our system, and it saves users money."To read the entire issue of Miami Today online, subscribe to e-MIAMI TODAY, an exact digital replica of the printed edition.

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