Changing lanes is about to take on a whole new meaning.
This time it is not the drivers who are shifting but rather the lanes themselves as Interstate 595 gets ready to debut reversible lanes in late March – a first for South Florida.
Broward's only east-west expressway will have three tolled lanes in its median, offering drivers extra help when they need it most - eastbound in the morning and westbound at night.
Because reversible lanes are such a novelty, officials are planning a big push to educate drivers on how to use them. The effort kicks off with an open house Thursday at the Signature Grand in Davie.
Here's what you need to know:
Q: What will prevent drivers from going the wrong way?
Warning lights and overhead message signs will say when the reversible lanes are open or closed. A series of gates will close off the lanes to prevent cars from entering the wrong way. The first three to four gates can be broken through before drivers reach a final locked-down steel arm meant to stop a vehicle.
Q: Who can use the reversible lanes?
The lanes are open to all motor vehicles, including large trucks. But you need SunPass to use them.
Q: How much will the tolls be?
Fluctuating from 50 cents to $2, depending on congestion.
Q: When will they be open?
Eastbound, 4 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. Westbound, 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Friday. On weekends, eastbound all day. The lanes will be closed for maintenance from 1 to 2 p.m. weekdays and from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. nightly.
Q: Where can I enter and exit?
Eastbound drivers will enter west of 136th Avenue and exit either to Florida's Turnpike or continue east to I-95. Westbound drivers will enter west of I-95 or from the turnpike and exit after 136th Avenue before the I-75/Sawgrass interchange.
Q: What is the speed limit?
70 mph in the reversible lanes, 65 mph in the free lanes.
Q: I can't use the reversible lanes because of where the entrances are located. How do drivers in the free lanes benefit?
The reversible lanes are designed to move long-distance commuters, not drivers only traveling a few exits. Long-distance drivers who use them should free up capacity in the free lanes.
Q: Who is charged?