Florida is proposing double-decker toll lanes on the Palmetto Expressway, creating an express route between State Road 836 and South Dade that would allow commuters to pay to avoid traffic.
The $1 billion state proposal would use optional toll lanes to help fund the 5.3-mile construction project on State Road 826, with regular toll lanes at street level and express toll lanes about 30 feet above. The elevated express lanes on the Palmetto would provide a stop-free connection between the 836 to the north and the Don Shula Expressway to the south.
It’s the most aggressive plan yet for a toll road in Miami-Dade, where motorist resentment over paying to drive on public roads has sparked a string of political battles and campaign platforms. For the Palmetto plan, Florida would create a new toll road about three stories in the air to accommodate demand for the north-south route.
Florida’s Department of Transportation drafted the proposal as one of three options under consideration for widening the Palmetto and adding “managed” toll lanes to run alongside the existing free lanes. Drivers pay to use the toll lanes rather than driving the same distance for free, and the price increases the more congested the free lanes become.