Flashing message boards and fluorescent signs may warn drivers of the new configuration of the Palmetto and State Road 836 interchange, but it’s going to take some getting used to.
“We expect it will take several days before everyone becomes accustomed to the new traffic patterns,” said Oscar Gonzalez, a spokesman for the interchange project.
Monday’s morning commute was the first major test of four new permanent ramps and flyovers that are meant to give drivers traveling in both directions on State Road 836 more-direct access to the southbound Palmetto as well as West Flagler and Southwest Eighth streets. The changes affect the stretch of 836 between Northwest 72nd and 87th avenues.
Gonzalez said both the morning and afternoon commute went relatively smooth.
“It looks like folks are paying attention to the signs,” he said.
The new ramps are part of a $560 million project — a collaboration between the Florida Department of Transportation and the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority —that began at the end of 2009 and is expected to last until 2015.
Drivers heading either east or west on 836 toward the Palmetto will have two choices for heading south — but only one connector from each direction will provide access to Flagler and Southwest Eighth streets.
Missing the signs can mean a pretty long detour, Gonzalez said.
“People will get used to it,” he said. “It’ll just take time.”
For more information on the project, visit http://www.826-836.com/home/.