FINALLY: FDOT to Expand Southbound Palmetto at NW 103rd Street Bottleneck

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The Palmetto (some like to call the crawlmetto) took a major step backwards when regular non-toll lanes were replaced with two express lanes.  That left the Palmetto with just three southbound lanes for local traffic.  Even if you wanted to, there was no option to jump on the Express Lanes.  Everyone gets stuck in this ridiculous bottleneck…even on weekends.

Palmetto Southbound at 103 Street Hialeah Bypass
Palmetto Southbound at 103 Street Hialeah Bypass

The bottleneck has become a defacto toll.  Sure, you’re not paying a toll to FDOT, but you’re paying more in fuel, you’re taking up more time (time is money), and you’re polluting the environment just sitting in traffic.

We’ve written previously about the Hialeah bypass lanes and the havoc it has created for local drivers.

Palmetto Express Lanes Traffic Disaster

We also reported that local politicians were up in arms about this disaster:

Manny Diaz Jr. Wants Immediate Changes to Palmetto Express Lanes

At one point, Bryan Avila and Manny Diaz Jr were proposing the complete elimination of the tolled lanes along the Palmetto:

Bryan Avila, Manny Diaz fight to rid Palmetto of tolled lanes

The FDOT did improve the northbound bottleneck where there was once only 3 untolled lanes on the Palmetto Expressway and the busy NW 103rd Street corridor.  That made a dramatic positive improvement for everyone using the Palmetto.  I’m not saying the Palmetto is perfect, but it had become horrific northbound.

However, the southbound side of the Palmetto remains limited to just 3 lanes.  That’s over two years after it was implemented.  To put it plainly, southbound Palmetto sucks at NW 103rd Street.

Finally, the Florida Department of Transportation appears ready to address the issue.  The FDOT recently emailed us with their plans:

“The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is planning capacity improvements along the Palmetto Expressway that address your concerns about the southbound lanes. The project limits extend from south of NW 36 Street to north of NW 154 Street and include – but not limited to – the following:

  • Modifying the NW 103 Street/W 49 Street westbound to southbound flyover ramp pier along the outside non-tolled, general-purpose lane and subsequently widening the SR 826 mainline bridge and walls to create an additional non-tolled, general-purpose lane through NW 103 Street/W 49 Street;
  • Relocating the express lane entrance access at NW 154 Street to NW 103 Street/W 49 Street to allow access to the express lanes from NW 154 Street and NW 122 Street/W 68 Street;
  • Extending the auxiliary lane between the Okeechobee Road and NW 74 Street interchanges;
  • Widening the southbound bridge over NW 74 Street, Metrorail and FEC railway and
    Widening the northbound bridge over NW 103 Street/W 49 Street.
  • Construction is scheduled to begin late Spring 2022.”

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