MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Monday commute for drivers along the westbound Dolphin Expressway/SR 836 who were used to exiting onto the Palmetto Expressway/SR 826 via a flyover ramp.
Monday morning they found the ramp closed and if they wanted to get on the Palmetto Expressway they had to exit a mile earlier.
“It was a little bit confusing,” said George Fernandez, “They (other drivers” were mad, they just wanted to get to work real quick.”
Westbound drivers on SR 836 who want to go south or north on the Palmetto now have to exit at the 72nd Avenue/Palmetto Expressway ramp immediately after Northwest 57th Avenue and then take a new road that runs parallel to SR 836 to SR 826.
Drivers who miss the exit will be out of luck if they try to go the old way.
“The biggest thing is: if drivers miss this 72nd avenue ramp, they will not be able to get access to the northbound or southbound ramps because that corridor is going be separated by barrier walls,” warned Oscar Gonzales of the Florida Department of Transportation.
“People already get confused as it is on the highway,” said driver Stephanie Buello. “People that didn’t know that they were going to have a new exit, it’s probably going to cause some chos.”
Anthony Daughtry, who was taking his daughter to school, was one of the unlucky ones who missed the exit.
“I saw a sign saying you had to be far right. I couldn’t get all the way over to the right because of traffic, it was just so backed up,” said Daughtry.
Daughtry’s daughter was an hour late for school.
The new traffic pattern will be in place for the next year to year and a half as a new high capacity ramp is built at SR 826.
“Once people get accustomed to this, and it will normally take a week or two to get accustomed to the new traffic pattern, I think things will flow a lot smoother,” said Oscar Gonzalez with the Florida Department of Transportation.
The overhaul of the interchange is part of a comprehensive project that began in November 2009. It is expected to be completed in September 2015 at a cost of $560 million.
“It’s going to be really difficult now, now during the process,” said driver Mario Marrerro. “After the process is complete, I think it’s going to be better.