New plans are in place to add express lanes to State Road 826, known as the Palmetto Expressway. NBC 6's Myriam Masihy spoke with Judy Solaun-Gonzalez from the Florida Department of Transportation about the expansion.
Express lanes like the ones on Interstate 95 will soon be built on the Palmetto Expressway and Interstate 75.
"This is part of a network that we are building in South Florida where all the major highways will be connected by express lanes," said Florida Department of Transportation engineer Judy Solaun-Gonzalez.
The four-year project, set to begin January 2014, will add a lane each way on the Palmetto, leaving a total of two express and four general purpose lanes each way between West Flagler and Northwest 154th Street.
Palmetto commuters will then have the option to transition onto I-75 express lanes being built simultaneously. Solaun-Gonzalez says the stretch between Flagler and Northwest 170th Street will cost an estimated $275 million to build and the portion from 170th north to Interstate 595 will set them back $470 million.
Commuters who chose to use the express lanes that have limited exits will have to pay a toll that goes up when too many cars are using the express lanes. It's the same concept you see on I-95 when you chose to pay $6 and wind up stuck in traffic anyways.
"Once we're already charging $6, $7 it means (we) already are reaching our capacity and we're already basically full, so we are actually trying to deter more motorists from entering the express lanes," FDOT spokesperson Alicia Torrez said.
The news didn't sit well with some drivers in Hialeah who see the new express lanes as an unnecessary toll aimed at generating money.
Johanna Bueno says she can't believe the news.
"It's going to create more traffic," Bueno says.
The FDOT warns commuters that the four-year construction will cause some delays but says they will not close lanes during rush hour.
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