I95 Could Get Upgraded Tolled Highspeed Lanes
Written by Dan Dolan on March 15, 2007
By Dan Dolan
A Florida Department of Transportation plan to create high-speed toll lanes on Interstate 95 between Fort Lauderdale and downtown Miami won tentative approval from Miami-Dade County’s Transportation Planning Council this week.
Under the proposal approved Monday after a briefing from state transit expert Alice Bravo, each High Occupancy Vehicle lane, one in each direction, would be replaced with two toll lanes.
Tolls on the special lanes would fluctuate in proportion to traffic volume during any given hour, Ms. Bravo said, so drivers would pay more during rush hour than they would at other times. Fees could be eliminated during off-peak hours, she said.
The idea is to double I-95’s 3,000-vehicle-per-hour capacity by creating limited-access lanes that increase traffic flow by allowing a constant 50-miles-per-hour travel speed, Ms. Bravo said.
Computer sensors along the highway would gauge traffic speed and volume in the lanes and adjust tolls accordingly. The sensors would read a pre-paid toll card — similar to the SunPass system — and automatically debit drivers’ accounts. Signs would notify drivers of the current toll rate before they enter the lanes.
Ms. Bravo said the project could cost $80 million, which would be paid by the federal government. Tolls could be earmarked to maintain or expand the system, she said.
The project could be operational in three years because major construction wouldn’t be needed, Ms. Bravo said. Eliminating High Occupancy Vehicle lanes and narrowing highway shoulders would make room for the new lanes, which would be separated from the rest of the highway by plastic posts.
Rush-hour travel time between the Golden Glades Interchange and Interstate 395 would be slashed an average 38 minutes, Ms. Bravo said.