FDOT to replace, increase number of express lane poles on I-95

NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Some big changes are coming to parts of Interstate 95, in Miami-Dade County, as crews prepare to replace and increase the number of express lane poles along the highway. They hope this will deter drivers from cutting into the express lanes.

The Florida Department of Transportation and the Florida Highway Patrol held a news conference, Thursday, to discuss the enhanced safety features that aim to increase safety on the busy roadway.

The express lanes were intended to make the traffic flow easier, but they have proven to be easy to bypass.

Driver Paul Girardi told 7News he commutes on I-95 every day and has seen it all. “It causes traffic, you know, people jumping in and out of lanes, they back up. It’s such a mess,” he said.

“The new type of poll design is supposed to be survivable for 200 hits. Currently, we’re replacing an average of every poll, every year,” said Florida Department of Transportation spokesperson James Wolfe. “We’re going to narrow the spacing of the three foot polls from 10 feet to 5 feet and we think that will be a great deterrent to the motorist doing the lane diving.”

In addition to adding more poles, officials said, they will replace the current poles with more sturdy ones.

7News cameras captured bent and broken poles along I-95 in Northwest Miami-Dade. Some of them are even missing in some places. That’s because, in their current condition, it’s fairly easy for drivers to weave in and out of them.

Officials said these moving violations can prove to be, not just dangerous, but sometimes even deadly. This is why they are taking action.

Along with the new and improved polls will be five, new “safety stopping zones” where vehicles can safely pull over during an emergency.

“The wide shoulder allows us the opportunity to make a traffic stop where we feel that everyone is safe,” said Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Joe Sanchez. “These areas certainly are going to make life simpler for us and safer for us.”

And drivers are welcoming the upcoming changes. “Yeah, I think it might be better,” said Shirlene Weaver. “The problem sometimes is that those cars jump in front of you and then cause accidents. I think it’s dangerous.”

Officials said the project will initially be limited to Miami-Dade County.

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