MIAMI(CBS4) – Drivers who use I-75 in the daily commute may notice some changes going on.
The state Department of Transportation is working on improving the Miramar Parkway interchange. The $11 million dollar project calls for an additional in each direction to ease merging between the turnpike and Miramar Parkway. The plan also calls for modifying two the ramps on Miramar Parkway so that traffic stops at new signals.
The Griffin Road interchange is scheduled to get a similar makeover.
Two years ago, the Pines Boulevard interchange was updated with new off-ramps that stop at traffic signals.
On the Miami-Dade end of the highway, construction will begin this fall to add another lane on the I-75 ramp to the Palmetto Expressway and add an additional lane on the Palmetto from I-75 toNW 103rd Street.
The state also has a more ambitious plan to give the highway the upgrades it really needs but unfortunately doesn’t have the money to pay for it.
The $1.5 billion plan calls for adding additional lanes for smoother transitions between I-75 and the Palmetto and build some missing flyover ramps which would connect I-75 to the Florida Turnpike. Currently, drivers heading south on I-75 can’t access the northbound turnpike lanes and drivers heading north on the turnpike can’t access the southbound lanes of I-75.
“Not having to get on the [line] to get onto the other local streets such as 138th street you will be able to go right over that exit and go to the palmetto,” said Dat Huynh, FDOT project engineer.
The plan also calls for filling in the highway’s grassy median and building variable toll express lanes from the Palmetto to Royal Palm Boulevard in Weston which would connect to the reversible express lanes being built on I-595.
It is a plan that not all drivers are excited about. “I don’t think it has that much traffic,” said Orelis Daniel, who drives that stretch. She believes the project is not necessary.
But traffic engineers say the number of cars that travel I-75 is expected to increase by 50 percent by the year 2040 and that is why its needed.
“If you travel it right now it may not look like it’s needed,” said Huynh. “But in the future as future development come in the area it will, you will have a need then. At that time we need to be ready for that time.”
The DOT is holding public hearings on the plan this week. As for how they will pay for the major upgrades the state may look in a public-private partnership, similar to the one created to finance the I-595 project. Under this type of arrangement, a private company designs, builds and maintains the road over period years. The pay for part or all of the costs up front and then get repaid later by the state.
Built nearly a quarter of a century, when western Broward was largely undeveloped, today more than 120-thousand drivers use the highway on a daily basis.