DAVIE (CBSMiami) – Four years in the making, the new reversible toll lanes on I-595 are set to open this week.
Laila Haddad, with 595 Express, said they are tentatively scheduled to open the lanes Wednesday afternoon. That could change however because testing is still going on. The official grand opening and ribbon cutting for the lanes is scheduled for Friday. Governor Rick Scott is scheduled to attend the event.
For the first week, there will be no tolls, according to the Sun-Sentinel, so crews can test the equipment in real-time and drivers can try them out without having to make a decision as to whether they want to pay.
The 10 miles of express lanes run from I-95 to I-75 with only one exit ramp in-between at the Florida Turnpike.
On Wednesday, if all goes well, the lanes will be open for westbound traffic. On Thursday, the lanes will be open eastbound from 4 a.m. to 1 p.m. and then westbound from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. On weekends the lanes will only be open in the eastbound direction.
The target commute time is less than ten minutes from end to end.
There are warning signs and railroad style crossing arms to keep drivers from entering them at the wrong time.
After the free week, drivers who wish to use them will have to have a SunPass transponder to pay the toll or else they will be sent a bill in the mail. The cost to use them should be anywhere between 50 cents and two dollars.
In addition to the toll lanes, the $1.2 billion mega project included 62 new bridges, a simpler interchange at the Turnpike and new ramps for drivers entering and exiting the traffic flow.
The project was performed by a private company. Once the toll lanes open, the state will begin a 30 year re-payment plan. Had this been a state “pay as you go” plan, this whole thing would have been broken down into 12 separate projects that would have taken more than 15 years to finish.