Cash Lane Closures on Dolphin Expressway Start Sunday

Cash lanes will be closed on the highway's NW 17th Avenue toll plaza.

Cash lane closures will start Sunday on the Dolphin Expressway, beginning with the NW 17th Avenue toll plaza.

The highway, also called State Road 836, will eventually use an all-electronic tolling system and stop accepting cash.

Drivers will be charged by SunPass or Toll-By-Plate, with Toll-By-Plate rates being double the SunPass rate. On the NW 17th Avenue Toll Plaza, SunPass users pay $1 and Toll-By-Plate users are mailed a $2 fee.

"Removing the cash option from the toll plaza allows for a much safer and faster travel," said Mario Diaz, spokesman for the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority. "It's safer because you no longer have people weaving from one lane to another trying to decide if they're paying cash or SunPass. That creates a congestion on the expressway as well."

The new system is supposed to ease bottlenecking and improve traffic flow on the Dolphin Expressway and the Airport Expressway, or State Road 112. Officials say they can process about 200 cars an hour going through the cash lane, but they can process up to 2,000 cars an hour going through SunPass lanes.

"You're able to get from point A to point B and if you have the luxury of Sunpass, it's easy access," driver Alex Varkas said.

The new system, which includes adding more tolls on both sides of the 836, has some drivers worried about how the change will affect their pockets.

"Anytime they do something like this you can guarantee that the price that people pay to use the roads will go up," driver Matt Malone said.

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