Will the addition of Express Lanes eliminate any of the non-tolled general use lanes?
The I-4 Beyond the Ultimate reconstruction project will not change the current number of non-tolled, general use lanes.
There are now six non-tolled, general use lanes on Interstate 4 (I-4) in the project area and there will continue to be six after reconstruction is completed. But in addition, to those six general use lanes (three in each direction), the project will add four Express Lanes (two in each direction).
The four Express Lanes in the I-4 Beyond the Ultimate project will seamlessly link to the four Express Lanes being built on the adjoining I-4 Ultimate reconstruction project.
What are Express Lanes?
Express Lanes are an innovative solution to manage traffic congestion and provide choices for travelers. The project provides additional lanes with restricted access points, and dynamic toll pricing based on the level of congestion that are adjacent to the non-tolled general purpose lanes.
Express Lanes are an option for travelers. The cost of using Express Lanes will be set by a method called dynamic toll pricing, which is based on congestion on the interstate. The toll goes up or down depending on traffic volume. The toll will be higher during peak periods when demand for the Express Lanes is greater and lower during non-peak periods when the demand is less.
How do I access the Express Lanes?
There are two ways motorists can access and use the Express Lanes. If you’re already traveling in the general use lanes, there are express ramps on the left that will take you to and from Express Lanes. If you are traveling on a surface street or roadway near an interchange, you may have the option to use a direct connect ramp. The direct connect ramps provide access to Express Lanes from surface streets, bypassing the general use lanes.
Who Sets the Rate?
The rate structure, which FDOT is currently developing, will be designed to help keep cars in the Express Lanes moving at 50 mph. By way of comparison, drivers on I-95 Express Lanes in Miami pay a minimum of $0.50 and have paid a maximum of $10.50 to travel 7 miles, depending on traffic in the area.
Once drivers choose to enter the Express Lanes, they lock in their rates, which cannot increase while they are in the Express Lanes. Drivers will be charged by the distance they travel in the Express Lanes and will have several options for entering and exiting the Express Lanes. The tolls will be collected electronically from overhead gantries, as they are today on several other toll roads in Florida.
What Happens if Toll Rates Change While Traveling in Express Lanes
As drivers approach an entry point for the Express Lanes, they will see electronic signs showing current costs for traveling in the Express Lanes to various exit points.
If surrounding traffic conditions grow more congested and the toll rates rise after the driver enters the Express Lanes, the cost will not increase. But if traffic thins own and rates decrease while drivers are in the Express Lanes, they will be charged the lower rate.
Who Can Use the Express Lanes?
The Express Lanes will be open for use by the majority of drivers who choose to enter the lanes.
All buses will be allowed to use the Express Lanes, and public transit and school buses will be exempt from paying a toll. Motorcycles and trucks with two axles will also be permitted in the Express Lanes.
There are a few vehicle types that will be prohibited from using the lanes. At this time, heavy trucks will not be allowed in the Express Lanes. The types of trucks permitted in the Express Lanes are part of an ongoing discussion at the state level and may be based on the number of axles or weight. No trailers of any kind will be permitted, regardless of the type of vehicle towing it.
Are any Express Lanes now open in Florida?
Express Lanes are currently operating successfully on I-95 in Miami and on I-595 in Fort Lauderdale. Managed lanes projects are also currently under development in several spots around the state.
To learn more about Express Lanes in Florida, visit floridaexpresslanes.com.