Sadly, all good things must come to an end and such is the case for drivers who have been enjoying the Express toll lanes on the Palmetto Expressway for free.
The Palmetto Express lanes opened in August of this year. And while drivers haven't had to pay to use them yet, as of Monday, September 23rd, they will.
Much like the I-95 express lanes, the Palmetto Express Lanes will use dynamic tolling, which is a variable tolling method that calculates the amount of money drivers have to pay for tolls based on the amount of traffic on the roads. So, during peak hours, drivers will pay more. Off-peak hours, they will pay less.
According to Marta Rodriguez, spokesperson for the Department of Transportation District 6, dynamic tolling seeks to discourage drivers from using the express lanes if they don't really need them. Although full rates have not been officially determined yet, the starting point is 50 cents and there is no cap rate set. Overhead toll rate signs will display the amount so drivers can decide if they want to use them or not before they get on.
North-bound drivers will have three access points: One on the Flagler/Dolphin Interchange, the second between NW 36th Street and 58th Street and the third between Okeechobee and 103rd Street.
But once they get on, they can't get off until NW 67th Avenue. There are two more exits north-bound. One is north of NW 154th Street. The second way to get off is by connecting from the Palmetto Express Lanes to the 75 Express Lanes.
South-bound drivers can hop on at two locations: north of NW 154th Street and by connecting directly from the 75 Express Lanes to the Palmetto Express Lanes. There are three south-bound exits: one between NW 103rd Street and Okeechobee, a second between NW 58th Street and NW 36th street and the third between the Dolphin Expressway and West Flagler Street.
Also, by the end of the year, drivers will be able to leave their cars for free at the newly constructed Miami Gardens Drive Park and Ride and then hop on a bus onto the express lanes.
Toll collection begins this Monday, September 23rd. Toll by plate is not an option. All drivers using the Palmetto Express lanes must have a valid SunPass Account. To find out more, go to palmettoexpresslanes.com.