If You See Blacked-Out 95 Express Signs, Here's Why
At best, the signs were confusing. At worst, an incentive to illegally pylon-jump between express and non-express lanes.
On Wednesday, the Florida Department of Transportation will shut down two problematic electronic 95 Express tolls signs: one above the northbound 95 express lanes near Northwest 54th Street and one on the southbound lanes near Northwest 144th Street.
“It really doesn’t add benefit at this point,” says Rory Santana, who runs the 95 Express system for FDOT.
Both signs are visible only after vehicles have already traveled past a different toll sign just before the 95 Express entrance. For example, the NW 54th Street toll sign is about two miles north of where drivers get into the lanes.
Because the price of entry changes throughout the day, there’s a good chance drivers will see one toll when entering 95 Express and a different number on the in-lane sign. When the second toll is higher, drivers might wonder if they were charged more than first advertised. FDOT insists the system is set up to ensure drivers aren’t charged more than the initial toll they see.
The two electronic signs will go black starting this week. Each is positioned at the toll gantry, where the actual SunPass transponder is charged. FDOT erected a set of signs both before the 95 Express entry and right at the gantries because of legal ambiguity about where drivers needed to be made aware of the toll: at the decision point or the point of charge.
“We were not sure how the rules were going to be written,” says Santana. “Now the rules say the sign must be before facility.”
FDOT plans to eventually remove the old signs entirely. Each cost around $40,000 and were put up about seven years ago. Santana says it’s towards the end of their life anyhow.
“They’re on their last leg,” says Santana.