Express lanes could be coming to I-75 in SWFL

If you’ve ever driven on I-75 in SWFL, then you’ve probably had to deal with bad traffic at some point.

“The highway is very congested right now and it’s not a very good thing,” said driver Joe Mobley.

Drivers like Mobley say if traffic is bad now, they can’t imagine what it will be like in the near future.

“Especially during season when the tourist or the northerners are down, it makes traffic really difficult. In 15 years man, it’s going to be crazy,” Mobley said.

Growing congestion is a problem for drivers, but express lanes just may be the solution.

The Florida Department of Transportation will begin a $23 million study later this year of a more than 120-mile stretch of the I-75 corridor from Moccasin Wallow Road in Manatee County, all the way down to State Road 951 in Collier County to determine if express lanes are needed in the area.

“Express lanes provide a more predictable travel time. As traffic and congestion builds up in the general lanes, express lanes provide that option for you to avoid some of that congestion and have a quicker way for you to get to where you need to go,” said Zac Burch with FDOT.

But some drivers say that isn’t always the case in other cities that use the system.

“I’ve seen express lanes to be helpful and then at the time of some congestion, the express lane is just as congested as your normal lanes so it all depends,” said driver Robert Furster.

Tolls would be based on dynamic pricing, so drivers may have to keep extra cash in their cars. When traffic is low, drivers would pay less, but during peak congestion times, prices could soar.

“You just better make sure you have that right timing,” Furster said.

The study itself would take two to three years to complete, so FDOT says construction wouldn’t happen for at least a decade.

FDOT will begin the study later this year. Besides possible express lanes, FDOT’s study will also identify additional lanes or other alternatives that could be better options.

WINK News reporter Jessica Alpern was live on the roads to talk about the timeline and when you could see the express lanes. Watch the segment below.

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