BROWARD COUNTY (CBSMiami) – “Let’s muscle through it.”
That is the mentality of both drivers and construction workers ahead of major road closures along I-595 this weekend.
The following roads were closed Saturday at 11:30pm and are scheduled to re-open around midnight Sunday:
- Northbound University Drive at I-595
- Westbound State Road 84 from S.R. 7 to Pine Island Road
- Westbound I-595 from University Drive to Pine Island Road *
- Eastbound I-595 on-ramps from Weston Road to University Drive **
- Florida’s Turnpike ramp to westbound I-595 and westbound S.R. 84
- S.R. 7 ramps to westbound I-595 and westbound S.R. 84
* Westbound I-595 commuters can still drive north or south on University Drive.
** Eastbound I-595 drivers can still take southound University Drive.
The southbound University Drive flyover at I-595 will re-open in November, prior to Thanksgiving.
That closure brings good news and bad news.
The good news: once it re-opens, commuters will be led onto eastbound State Road 84, giving them the option to take the eastbound on-ramp to I-595 or continue on eastbound State Road 84 to Davie Road.
The bad news: at some point after the flyover re-opens, the flyover connecting northbound University Drive and westbound I-595 will close for three weeks.
The closures are necessary because FDOT workers had to raise the flyover ramp connecting southbound University Drive with eastbound I-595.
The flyover project is simply one part of FDOT’s I-595 Express Corridor Improvements Project, a $1.8 billion makeover to the main east-west corridor through Central Broward County.
“We have to raise up the bridge to meet the minimum vertical clearance [for trucks],” said Paul Lampley, the I-595 construction project manager. “It is a much more effective and efficient way to move traffic.”
Efficiency, and fewer traffic headaches, is what FDOT seeks.
“We really need additional capacity,” Lampley said. “The concept will allow us to provide for that additional volume.”
The new Davie off-ramp will create a “braided” ramp, separating traffic on different elevations. Motorists from eastbound State Road 84 and from the flyover will travel on the “ground level” to get on the highway. Eastbound I-595 traffic exiting to Davie Road will use an upper level off-ramp.
This will eliminate the current conflicting traffic as drivers merge on and off the highway in the same spot.
“It is more efficient to bring people off the highway and then bring them on afterward,” Lampley said. “It also eliminates the possibility of any kind of accidents happening in that area.”
Meanwhile, construction on other parts of the highway will continue nightly, including the addition of other lanes and the installation of street lights along the highway between State Road 7 and Interstate 75.
Lampley said drivers should be careful and alert while driving past construction areas, particularly at night when lanes are closed or redirected.
Lampley urges patience.
“We are on schedule and actually a little ahead,” he said. “We have only 1 1/2 years left (March 2014), so we’re almost finished.”