Florida’s Turnpike to grow from 6 to 10 lanes, add express lanes in south PBC

Florida’s Turnpike after express lanes and widening. (FDOT)

BOCA RATON — As use of Florida’s Turnpike grows, as will its lanes from six to 10 between Glades Road and Boynton Beach Boulevard with the addition of express lanes, residents of southwestern Palm Beach County learned Monday evening.

The Alliance of Delray Beach, an association of residents west of Delray and Boca Raton, was presented the long-term plans to expand the Turnpike by Florida Department of Transportation officials at a meeting Monday. More than two dozen residents attended the meeting, many of whom shared concerns about added traffic noise as a result of the highway’s expansion.

By 2023, construction will likely begin on expanding the lanes from six to 10 between Glades Road and Atlantic Avenue, said Michael Shannon, the department’s director of transportation development.

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Construction on Atlantic Avenue to Boynton Beach Boulevard won’t start for at least the next five years.

To avoid a gas line just east of Florida’s Turnpike, the lanes will shift and additional lanes will be added west, Shannon said.

Two center express lanes will be added in both the south and northbound directions between Glades and Atlantic, similar to the express lanes in place on Interstate 95.  With the planned addition of express lanes on Florida’s Turnpike, Florida will be the first state in the U.S. to enact an additional toll on top of an existing one.

While residents were assured the heavy daily traffic flow on the highway meant necessary expansion, many shared worries of added traffic noise.

“It’s loud there now,” said Cherie Gross, a realtor west of Delray Beach.

» READ: 7 things to know about the I-95 express lanes planned for Palm Beach County

A noise analysis will be performed within a year or two to determine the expansion’s effect on neighboring communities, FDOT officials said. The department is exploring the potential for noise walls, concrete barriers between the highway and communities that would absorb and reflect some of the noise.

“If you want to sit outside on your patio, (the noise) becomes a problem,” said Michele Fingerman, a resident of the Addison Reserve community just east of Florida’s Turnpike.

Noise barriers, however, have their limitation, Shannon said. The noise is often decreased in homes immediately adjacent to the highway, but bounces over to homes farther away from the highway.

“Noise walls are more of a perception benefit than an actual benefit,” Shannon said.