Q: When heading to westbound Interstate 595 from State Road 7, I end up at a traffic signal on State Road 84 and Davie Road. It feels like my westbound commute is held up by this single signal. Will this change when the I-595 construction is over?
Tim Bartlemo, Plantation
A: No, it will not change. On-ramps from S.R. 84, northbound and southbound S.R. 7 and Davie Road were combined into one ramp that merges onto westbound I-595 just east of University Drive.
By combining the ramps, traffic flow on I-595 has improved. Before the construction, each road had its own on-ramp, funneling traffic onto I-595 in a short distance. The result was huge backups in the afternoon rush hour.
During construction, westbound S.R. 84 briefly had what is called a "turbo lane" at Davie Road. That allowed traffic bound for I-595 and points west of Davie Road to go through the intersection without stopping because the lane was separated from others by plastic poles.
But the turbo lane was eliminated once the path for the New River Greenway was set. The recreational trail, which mostly follows the canal north of I-595, jumps to the south side of I-595 and runs along eastbound S.R. 84 between University Drive and Davie Road, then goes back north across westbound S.R. 84 to the south side of the canal. With a crossing for pedestrians and bicyclists, free-flow traffic on S.R. 84 can't be allowed.
Q: I don't know why the Sun Sentinel writes about people not paying tolls on Florida's Turnpike. Why don't you write about why the state is still taking tolls? When the turnpike started in 1957, the state told the people of Florida that the turnpike would be tolled for 20 years.
Jon Patsy, Pompano Beach
In the mid '80s, legislators debated whether to discontinue the tolls as the last of the three separate bond issues that built the turnpike from Homestead to Wildwood north of Orlando were to be paid off in 1989.
Then-Gov. Bob Martinez appointed a committee to study the road's future. The committee recommended that tolls be kept and that the turnpike should be used as an engine to build more roads.
That crucial decision all but guaranteed Florida's Turnpike will remain a toll road far into the future.
Q: There are two intersecting streets in Boynton Beach and both travel through similar suburban residential areas. Pipers Glen Boulevard is a winding road and has a 40-mph speed limit. El Clair Ranch Road is a straight road but has a 35-mph speed limit. Shouldn't El Clair Ranch also have a 40-mph speed limit?
Mickey Joung, Boynton Beach
A: Palm Beach County engineers couldn't find anything through an initial search of their records going back 10 years on how the speed limits on those roads came to be set. Nor did they see any speed-related crash data on either road.
The county plans to do a study but didn't give a timeline for when it would be complete.
"Looking at the roads, I'm not sure that I see a good reason, other than the speed limits were set based on the conditions when the roads originally opened," said Dan Weisberg, the county's traffic engineer.
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