Q&A – 95 Express Lanes

Today’s entry - When does the lunacy of express lanes on I-95 end? Witnessed the coming lunacy on the Palmetto.

Bottom Line: I don’t mean to be a pessimist but probably when the world ends, or we elect politicians that dislike them as much as we do. The ship seems to have sailed on the express lanes on 95. They’re only going in one direction. North. The current expansion of the express lanes from SW 10th in Deerfield to Glades Road in Boca is well underway and will be mostly completed next year with a projected ETA for use in 2022. Next year, the express lanes will be expanded further to Linton Blvd. in Delray. 

According to state records, the existing express lanes on 95 have brought in over $200 million and reduced travel times. They’re both true with a caveat. According to the FDOT: Express lanes projects benefit all drivers on the highway. By moving more vehicles at more efficient rates on the express lanes, the condition on the toll-free lanes also improves, providing greater mobility on the highway, including commercial vehicles. After the completion of the 95 Express project in Miami-Dade County, the average speed on the general-purpose lanes increased from 20 m.p.h. to 40 m.p.h. during peak hours. The speed improvements on the general-purpose lanes result in significantly reduced traffic congestion proving that express lanes benefit all drivers on the highway.

Of course, expansion without the tolls would do the same thing, actually, it’d do better. Because we wouldn’t have confusion, lane diving, and additional space that could be used for shoulders being taken up with barriers that often end up on the road as obstacles as well. Safety/accident statistics on the impact of the lanes are tricky because there aren’t before and after comps that can be used but we all know they’ve contributed to risky and dangerous behavior. Intentional from people attempting to avoid tolls and unintentional from confused drivers. If you choose to use the express lanes, the average benefit is an increased speed of 9 miles-per-hour.

It’s true that more lanes will help the traffic burden. I agree its lunacy though. Maybe one day we’ll realize that the government is supposed to work for us and not the other way around.

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Photo by: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

 

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