Select I-95 onramps to get signals

FDOT Freeway Management System Engineer Hossam Abdel All presents project on I-95 ramp signals. Photo by Diane Emeott Korzen.

By: Diane Emeott Korzen Contributing Writer

Signaling is about to be added to the Palmetto Park Road onramp to I-95 by this summer.

The Florida Dept. of Transportation (FDOT) has chosen select onramps in the local area to add signalization.

Palmetto Park will be first — followed by Yamato Road and Congress Avenue by Spring 2021,and Glades Road by Summer 2021. The plan is to go up to Linton Boulevard in Palm Beach County.

FDOT representatives Freeway Management System Engineer Hossam Abdel All and Senior Public Information Officer Laila Haddad made a presentation on ‘Installation of Ramp Meters’ to Boca Raton City Council at their Feb. 24 Workshop meeting.

“You’re just telling us about it. You’re not asking us for approval of this. I don’t know that we need it,” said Council Member Andrea Levine O’Rourke.

“All of your concerns will be taken very strongly,” assured Abdel All.

Deputy Mayor Jeremy Rodgers asked about Atlantic Boulevard in Pompano Beach and Cypress Creek Road in Ft. Lauderdale, which are in the works already.

“My concern is: I don’t want us to be the test case,” Rodgers said.

“[Rampway signalization] has been around since 1960, it isn’t that new,” said Abdel All, giving the example of the Eisenhower ramp way in Chicago. It reduces congestion on the entrance to the freeway. Not necessarily at the exit, he said.

The Minneapolis – St. Paul Metro Area did a ramp signal survey, Abdel continued. When ramp signals were temporarily shut down, throughput on the freeway declined 14 percent; travel time reliability was almost twice as unpredictable; and crashes increased 26 percent.

Abdel All added that FDOT is trying to construct these in segments, each with their own contractor.

Council Member Monica Mayotte pointed out that it’s a very short distance between the onramp and the entrance to I-95.

Mayor Scott Singer asked what are the biggest detriments?

“The public may not like it. There may be considerable push-back from it. In Miami they had [it],” responded Haddad.

Singer pressed, “How [will] you respond to the average I-95 driver?”

“These [signals] won’t be turned on 24/7, [so I would tell the driver], ‘hey, don’t worry about it.’

The signals will only be on during heavy congestion periods. By waiting an extra couple seconds, throughout will be better,” Abdel All said.

Singer asked, “If you go forward, what type of communication will there be?” The answer was Social Media and Electronic signs at the ramp.

Mayotte suggested FDOT communicate with the City of Boca Communications Dept.