I-595 Reversible Lanes Open

The new lanes opened Wednesday afternoon.

Reversible lanes on Interstate 595 are ready for business.

The new lanes, which run right in the middle of the highway, are an effort by the Florida Department of Transportation to ease traffic during the highway's busiest hours.

FDOT officials said the lanes will open in the westbound direction starting Wednesday afternoon.

"It's great, we're right on target," said FDOT spokesman Paul Lampley.

The lanes will switch to the eastbound direction for morning traffic, then back westbound for the evening rush.

Officials project about 25,000 vehicles a day will use the express lanes, which will run from the Sawgrass Expressway in the west to the Florida Turnpike in the east. They will have security gates and other measures to make sure drivers don't use them in the wrong direction.

While the project once created a giant mess for commuters, a lot has changed in the four years since then-governor Charlie Crist broke ground on the project. The $1.2 billion renovation is almost finished and drivers are already seeing some relief.

"With getting the road in its final configuration, we're already seeing dramatically reduced travel times for travelers eastbound in the morning and westbound in the afternoons," Lampley said."

So was it worth the money and the time? Lampley said he thinks so.

"It's the largest transportation project in the state of Florida," he said. "[It's] employed over 275 local companies with over 2,000 employees every month. [It's] been a huge economic boon for South Florida."

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