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Long-Term Ramp Closures Snarls Traffic For I-595 Commuters

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The ongoing ramp construction at the northwest corner of  Pine Island Road and S.R. 84.  (Source: Florida Department Of Transportation)

The ongoing ramp construction at the northwest corner of Pine Island Road and S.R. 84. (Source: Florida Department Of Transportation)

DAVIE (CBS4) – Drivers on I-595 in Broward County now have a new construction headache — ramp closures.

The state’s Department of Transportation said long-term ramp closures could last for anywhere from 20 days to several months.

The first ramps were shut down Tuesday night.  Drivers can no longer use the ramp from S.R. 84 to westbound I-595 at Pine Island Road and the ramp from westbound I-595 to S.R. 84 at Nob Hill Road.

The two ramps will be closed simultaneously for approximately 135 days.

Signs on the highway announced the closure, but it still caught some drivers off-guard.  Less than two hours before the ramp closed, Sharon Nizri didn’t realize her regular route will have to change.

“I had no clue,” she said when we told her about the ramp closures. “It’s going to make my life very difficult.”

During the closures, drivers heading west on I-595 will be able to use the Pine Island Road exit (continuing westbound on S.R. 84 to Nob Hill Road) or the Hiatus Road (to U-turn at Hiatus Road and continue eastbound on S.R. 84 to Nob Hill Road).

Many who live in Davie said the detours will add time to their commute. Sara Levi, of Davie, said it will now take her a “very, very long time to get everywhere.”

Driver Dennis Phillips said the traffic can be overbearing sometimes.

“I hate it,” he said. “It backs up traffic everyday trying to get home.”

During these ramp closures workers will install the first braided ramps at Pine Island Road in the westbound direction. Braided ramps are a set of two ramps which separate drivers who are entering and exiting the highway; drivers getting off I-595 will travel on a bridge over drivers getting on. This type of ramp eliminates the merge condition that currently exists between I-595 and S.R. 84.

“What a braided ramp will do is take traffic off the interstate on to a bridge before putting new traffic on the interstate,” project construction manager Paul Lampley said. “We avoid that weaving conflict that we have today.”

This fall the eastbound ramps between Nob Hill and Pine Island roads will close for about seven months and the northbound University Drive ramp to westbound I-595 will be closed for about three weeks.

Construction started on the $1.2 billion I-595 Express Corridor Improvements Project in February 2010. It is scheduled to be completed in March 2014.

The ramp closures are the first of eight more to come over the next few years, and will improve road conditions and handle 180,000 cars using the interstate daily.

“If it improves traffic I think it’s great,” driver Mario Taglienti said.

For more information, visit the I-595’s Web site.

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