State considers adding designated truck lanes to I-75

Freight trucks are big, and they often clog up the highway or back up traffic.

The Florida Department of Transportation is considering a lane designated for freight trucks along I-75 to mitigate traffic issues with other vehicles on the interstate.

We looked at the pros and cons that could go into this proposal becoming a reality.

The proposal would see parts of the I-75 updating from four and six lanes to 10 and 12 lanes.

“Certainly, [what] we’re going to also look at is freight lanes or truck only lanes,” said Zach Burch, the communications manager with FDOT.

That could be the future of I-75.

“In terms of improving congestion and improving safety is always something we’re willing to look at,” Burch said.

Burch said FDOT engineers started its wide-ranging study in February. It runs through 2024.

“There were some people that thought, ‘Oh, this isn’t necessary. We don’t need 10 lanes,’” Burch said.

One of those people was Ray Fultz.

“That doesn’t make sense,” Fultz said.

Driving trucks since 1979, Fultz thinks it’s a big waste of money. Another thing he’s concerned about is speed.

“Why, if the speed limit is 70 mph, I’m behind a truck that can only run 62, why would I be penalized and have to ride 62 mph when I could run 70,” Fultz said. “You tell me I can’t go around this guy?”

What do you think?

But Nathan Herbert, another trucker, is all for truck lanes.

“Especially when there’s an accident, it can get backed up,” Herbert said.

But Herbert figures cost will turn people off. FDOT’s looking at billions of dollars to widen I-75.

“Are they willing to pay for that extra two lanes?” Herbert said. “I hope so, it’d make my job easier.”

With reports showing that 900 people move to the Sunshine State every day, traffic will continue to get heavier. FDOT knows it must do something, but when that will happen remains the unanswered question.

“If you looked at what the interstate was like 25 years ago around here, you probably wouldn’t think we needed the six lanes that we have now,” Burch said.

Reporter:Michelle Mackonochie
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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