Major roadwork on Palmetto Expressway drives ahead
Major roadwork on the Palmetto continues this week for the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) despite the global coronavirus pandemic bringing much of our daily lives to a screeching halt.
With folks advised to stay home and practice social distancing, the roads are less traveled. In fact, FDOT reports the now sparse traffic on normally busy and crowded roadways is allowing a boost in roadwork.
Scheduled lane closures and work on the Palmetto are still happening.
The contractor for the Palmetto Express Lanes project continues working on the installation of express lanes markers, roadway striping, fence placement, technical equipment installation at toll site buildings, transportation management systems wiring and loops, light pole installation, operational testing and installation of signs.
Nighttime lane closures and detours include:
■Sunday, March 29 from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. of the following morning: On SR 826/Palmetto Expressway all southbound lanes will be closed between Okeechobee Road and Northwest 74th Street.
Drivers may take the Okeechobee Road exit ramp westbound; turn south at Northwest 79th Avenue; turn east at Northwest 74th Street; or take the southbound entrance ramp to SR 826/Palmetto Expressway.
■Monday, March 30 from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. of the following morning: On SR 826/Palmetto Expressway the southbound exit ramp to Okeechobee Road will be closed.
Southbound drivers may take the NW 74th Street exit ramp eastbound; take the northbound Palmetto entrance ramp; or exit at Okeechobee Road.
FDOT officials stress that this schedule may change due to bad weather or other unexpected conditions.
Drivers are encouraged to call 511 before they drive, or log on to www.fl511.com to get real-time traffic and lane closure information
Last month, FDOT’s District Six began testing new ramp signals located on 19 entrance ramps to State Road (SR) 826/Palmetto Expressway, between Northwest 25th Street and 154th Street.
Ramp signals ease traffic flow by controlling the rate at which vehicles enter the highway to ensure there are enough gaps in traffic to accommodate each car. They operate based on real-time traffic conditions and allow one or two cars to merge onto the expressway at a time.
These signals were installed as part of the Palmetto Express Lanes Project currently underway between West Flagler Street and Northwest 154th Street.
Once testing is complete and the signals are activated, motorists can expect to see them working during peak travel times. Advanced warning signs will alert drivers when the ramp signals are on.
Express Lanes is an innovative, lower-cost alternative to traditional highway construction that offers a variety of options for managing congestion, according to FDOT.
The project creates new choices for consistent and dependable travel throughout the day and particularly during rush hours. Dynamic or variable pricing within the express lanes limits the number of vehicles using them and keeps traffic flowing.
Not all drivers will choose to use the express lanes all the time, but since some drivers may, congestion in the regular lanes will be reduced.
Dedicated express lanes staffing at the Transportation Management Center will monitor traffic activity and facilitate quick response to incidents along the entire corridor.
Some of the benefits to be realized by express lanes include:
■Benefiting all drivers on the highway by moving traffic faster and more efficiently.
■Paying toll is optional. Drivers may choose to pay the toll to use the express lanes or drive toll-free on the general-purpose lanes and still receive benefits from the improved travel speed.
■Offering reliable Express Bus service.
■Separating long-distance travel from short-distance travel, thus reducing lane changes and opportunity for accidents.
■No restrictions based on the number of passengers in a vehicle as in the case of High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes.
■Offering enhanced incident management resources, traffic monitoring services and use of ramp signaling.